How to Make an Impact
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1
I owe many of my closest friendships to the faithfulness of two guys.
During my senior year of high school, these two guys were college students who felt God calling them to pray. Specifically, they felt called to pray that a strong group of Christians would rise up on their public university campus. So each morning at 8:00, these two guys would meet up in the student center and pray over their university before heading to class.
For weeks and months they continued to pray and by the time summer started, they still had not seen the answer to prayer they were hoping for. But they continued to believe, the continued to feel God calling them to remain faithful to this vision for their campus. So one of them took a leap of faith.
As the president of a small Christian student organization on campus, he booked the largest space in the student center for the first month of large group meetings the next fall. A couple of years later, I talked to one of the people who was on the leadership team with him. She fully believed he was crazy and making a huge mistake. In the end, the team said they would give it a month and see what happened.
The next fall I came to campus along with about 500 other freshmen students. During the first week of class I had an evening meeting in the student center and the leaders of the meeting here complaining because the group next door was so big and loud. It was that Christian student group. They weren’t trying to be loud but with nearly 200 students singing praise songs, it’s hard to be quiet. It took me a couple of weeks to venture into one of their meetings but once I did, I rarely missed a chance to be there the rest of my college years.
Through that organization I got a chance to get to know my very best friends. In the 20 years since I first stepped into a large group meeting, the friendships formed there have been through marriages, kids, job changes, deaths, divorces, dreams coming true, and dreams shattering into a million pieces. I have wondered more than once; what if those two guys had not been faithful to answer God’s call to prayer? What if that leadership team had not taken the leap of faith required to meet in a huge room in the middle of campus that fall?
Faithfulness is perhaps the gift which calls us most to consider the long term results of our actions. It is a total commitment to God and what he has called us to which can often fly in the face on human reasoning. Faithfulness means we live with the confidence that we will receive the promises of God even if we don’t see them in this lifetime. Faithfulness assures us that we are not here by accident but by design.
Those two guys, who went against the grain of their public university culture and not only got up earlier than most every day but met to pray, I am sure had no idea the impact their prayers would have on my life still today. After they had both graduated, I found myself on the leadership team of that very same Christian student organization. By the end of my junior year, over 25% of the campus was actively involved in some way. My fellow leaders and I were very aware that we had been handed a huge gift. Each week we would meet, pray together, and find ourselves incredibly humbled by the task God had called us to.
I can’t help but marvel at how many times the building and community we have been given to worship in is the result of other’s faithfulness. This is the time of year I spend most of my weekends traveling and visiting various congregations around the upper mid-west. So many beautiful buildings sacrificially built by previous generations of believers. There is something powerful about sitting in an old church and taking the time to remember and imagine all those who have worshiped there before you. Because of their faithfulness, you are able to worship there today.
Hebrews 11 reminds us that even before our modern history, the faithfulness of many over thousands of years is part of our relationship with God still today. What is Noah hadn’t built the ark? Or what if Moses hadn’t returned to Egypt to confront Pharaoh? What if David hadn’t accepted the call to be king and insisted the title go to an older brother? What if Jesus had given into temptation in the desert? What if Paul had not traveled and preached?
Scripture is a story of faithfulness. Of God’s faithfulness to us and our faithfulness to Him.
So if you are wanting to make a last difference in the world, consider your faithfulness to God. It’s hard because so often the results are not something we see, experience, or reap the benefits of. That’s why the only way we can have the faith required to leave a lasting impact is by the Holy Spirit’s influence.
Having trouble believing God is faithful in your current circumstances? Start by remembering all the times before today God has been faithful. Start with the small things. Look at how the faithfulness of others has blessed you.
What areas in your life are you not completely faithful to God? How can you change those areas? Do you place God as the top priority in every area of your life?
What your obstacles to faithfulness? Why do you have trouble trusting God in general and/or in specific areas of your life?