World-Changers

for the week of October 2, 2000
by Rubel Shelly

I've decided the world needs to be changed. It's no small task, mind you. And I don't take it lightly. So I'll have to ask your help in doing it.

There needs to be less violence in the world. There are too many angry people on the road and in our workplaces. There are too many abusive words spoken in homes. And there are too many people who never get spoken to except to be criticized, put down, or made fun of. Things don't have to be that way. You and I can change this hateful pattern and drain off some of that savage anger.

The world definitely needs more smiles. It doesn't take any great effort to acknowledge people on the sidewalk, in elevators, or at restaurants. Why, it is even possible to smile at clerks and customers. There's something almost magical when clerk and customer smile simultaneously and speak pleasantly. It starts with a simple, natural smile directed at another human being.

We certainly need increased kindness to each other too. Every time you cross paths with another human being, you have the opportunity to see and affirm the image of God she bears. You can build her up or tear her down. If you do the former, you are honoring God and affirming human dignity; if you do the latter, you are not so much insulting that person as the God in whose likeness she was created. So racism, sexism, and the other hateful "-isms" of the world are banned.

Summing up, I suppose it all translates into Jesus' call for us to love one another. Maybe that's why less rage and more smiles, fewer incivilities and more kindness don't sound like such novel ideas. But, hey, the notion here isn't novelty but need, not originality but urgency. Don't you think these little things would make the world a better place for all of us.

"But it's too simplistic!" someone protests. Are you sure? The world gets changed not only by the mighty exploits of its occasional superstar heroes but also by the cumulative little deeds of each soul who aspires to a holy thing.

Don't wait for someone else to take the initiative in your workplace, at home, or in your church. No leader needs to give you permission. Just do these right, positive, and wholesome things yourself. If you must, do them alone. Go person to person with them, and God will make you into a world-changer!



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