We’ve recently ‘released a group of high school and college graduates to go, change their world.’ Many have scattered across the country, seeking jobs and placements that hopefully will lead them down the road to “Success.” We are so proud of them, their potential to lead us into the next generation, setting higher standards of achievement and changing their world in a more positive manner. 

Throughout history there have been individuals who made such decisions, conceived dreams, or lead by example to literally change the world around them. Perhaps, we all have known some! History reveals the ‘better world’ these leaders help create: Martin Luther, John Wesley, C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, the Apostle Paul and surely Jesus Christ — to name a few. 

David Ring and Joni Erickson Tada are changing how the world ‘looks at physically –challenged adults’ in society. Rick Barnes, governor of Texas is showing us that one can still govern from a wheel chair. Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Ronnie Milsaps are blind musicians and Fannie Crosby, blind from early childhood, is credited with writing thousands of hymns, many of which we sing every Sunday. There are countless others whom we can name in all areas of industry, finances, religion and business that have changed the world around them, even though they may never have set out to do it. They have allowed God to lead, direct and open doors for them, one step-at-a-time. 

Being a ‘world-changer’ was not the number 1 goal of many Christian leaders.  They made decisions to ‘trust the Lord and obey Him one- step-at-a-time.’ God opened doors, they followed His leadership. As a result of this, their influence began to spread and influence others – through their preaching, teaching, books, lectures, or speaking at conferences and conventions. We do not know if they prayed the Prayer of Jabez or not. (1 Chron 4: 10). But surely their sphere of influence broadened in so many ways.  

Modern day ‘world changers’ include: Franklin Graham (Shoe Box Ministry), Gen William Booth (Salvation Army), David Jeremiah (Turning Point), James Dobson (Focus on the Family) , Charles Stanley (In Touch Ministries), Chuck Swindoll (Insights for Living), Max Lucado, Tony Evans, Priscila Shirer,  and many others.  

The Apostle Paul was truly a world-changer. In Acts 17:6, Luke writes this about Paul and Silas as they passed through Thessalonica preaching and teaching. The townspeople ran them out of town for teaching false doctrines: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” (And we don’t like it). Recall that Paul began his mission to Damascus earlier to ‘round up those believers in Christ, and bring them to Jerusalem for punishment.’ Yes, he set out to keep his world from being changed. He was satisfied to be a Pharisee, keeping the Law and making sure others did too. But when he confronted Jesus in all His glory, Paul’s world was changed, and he became a ‘world changer for different reasons. The whole world was changed as a result of his conversion. And it is still being changed because of the ripples Paul’s ministry made many years ago. 

Seniors, what will it take for you to impact your world –  now that you are moving out into your ‘new area of independence?’ How are you going to impact the world before you? Where are you going to begin? What has the Lord placed on your heart to share with the world to make it a better place? Now is the time for you to ‘put into practice what you have been saying. Instead of saying:  “they ought to be doing this and that!” What are YOU GOING TO DO? AND WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BEGIN?’ 

You have spent these long years to get to this point; some of you will go on to college or training schools; others want to get a job and begin to earn your way in life NOW! We are anxious to see ‘you in action.’  Caution must be taken either way! A good place to begin impacting your world is at home – your family, your parents and siblings – make some new resolves of ‘honoring your parents in a new way’ and see how God will bless you in a new way. Love your family and friends ‘as Christ commanded’ and you will see the world around you differently. Make a strong commitment to do the very best you can in college, at work, in using your leisure time, in personal relationships and your commitment to the church. Nail down some goals in life, related to these areas and begin to map out directions you want to take to achieve them. Always keep God at the center of your life and make sure everything you do revolves around this central focus. 

You will see as time passes, you are a world changer in your sphere of influence.(Hopefully, in a positive way!)  And it will enlarge as you continue to honor God, your parents and home, your family and those work partners. Just as God directed Paul to take the gospel to the Gentile world, He will direct you in your pursuits in life. Commit Proverbs 3: 5-6 to heart and let it be the driving force to seek God first and let him direct you through life. Each of us has the capacity to change the world around us. As we commit our lives to Christ and honor Him, He will open doors and show us opportunities to ‘shine our light on the hillsides of life, beginning now and on through life. (Matt  5:16).