Tuesday, February 21, 2012

John's Channel: I'm Not Going to Even Try to Change the World

     So I was granted permission to produce a second episode. Still probationary, but a good sign none-the-less. Kristin, thank you for the request, but I'm going to ask you be patient with me. The "Bucket and Sucket List" is more third date material. Kind of like revealing your biological parent has 11 toes and that it is genetically probable that if the dating relationship leads to marriage and you decide to breed, one of your children will share the same toe-bundance (get it, abudance of toes...wait...if I have to explain a joke it's probably not funny...whatever).

      Let's go for "I'm Not Even Going to Try to Change the World." I've recently (in the last 5 years) accepted the fact that I, John Spenst, am not going to change the world.  Hand on knees.  Deep breath. Okay.  I, like many of my peers at my small, awesome, private- Christian university, believed I was responsible for creating a new world order of peace, harmony and undying devotion to Jesus.  My plan was to start by building orphanages in Africa (if God has given you the chance to be a part of something like this, that is fantastic, and I pray he blesses the work of your hands).  Orphanage-building would be my rite of passage to "world-changer status."  After all, as Christians we have a similar ranking as the military, right?  Secular employee to non-profit employee to worship leader with tattoo to prove relevance (thank you Northpoint) to pastor to missionary to world changer.  It's a great ladder to climb with promise of great benefits, a mansion and being surrounded by extra-shiny gold for eternity.

      Upon completion of college, I realized I was not a gifted orphanage-builder (again, thank you to those who are gifted orphanage builders, and are using your skills appropriately).  My life was further derailed by a recommendation to pursue the restaurant industry and then blown off the tracks by a sermon I heard on 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12. Quiet life? Work with your hands?

      For the last few years, I've been blessed with the opportunity to return to my alma mater and speak on a panel to a group of seniors in college who are a part of a leadership program I was once involved in. The topic is ExtraORDINARY Leadership.  It is all about leading in every day life.  I love it.  I usually ask the group who in the room knows what they are going to do after college.  Some do, many don't.  When I ask this question, it is like the ceiling collapses.  You can just feel the weight on the shoulders of these poor students.  They feel the need to do something grand, and to do it immediately.  The idea of working doing data entry for an large company is like wearing a scarlet "F" for failure.  The whole night I prime the group for one closing thought.  I tell them I want to take some pressure off of them.  You see we could all count the number of people that "changed the world" on one hand.  Mother Teresa.  A pope.  (Enter nominee for your world-changer here.) Not very good odds.  I simply say, "God does not ask you to change the world, He asks you to change your world."  Even then that is a half truth, He's the one that makes the change.  We are not the Omni-creator.  We are a tool.  The sooner we realize that, the more effective we will be.  

      I am blessed to own a "fast food" restaurant.  Day in, day out, I get to work with 60 team members and interact with guests in the form of 1800 transactions each day.  I rub shoulders every day with real people with real needs and real issues.  Is that becuse I work at a fast food restaurant? No.  If you encounter any other person in any given day, you do the same.  And I am willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone who tries to claim otherwise.  You're not going to change the world.  That's okay. Get over it.  Get over yourself.  

      One word of caution.  This is not permission to sit on your duff and do nothing for your world around you.  If you do that, you have failed.  You have a responsibility to love your coworkers, your actual neighbors and the people you have the chance to interact with daily.  Changing your world is not code for, "feel good about not being a missionary".  It's code for your world may be a cubicle-mate or the kids you're raising.


Ty said...

I nominate Charlton Heston!

Ty said...

Oh, and Jesus.

Kristin Murdock said...

First off thanks for the shout-out, I will wait patiently for the Sucket List.

I would argue that by influencing YOUR world, by giving God the space to allow His grace to flow through you and impact others, by doing ordinary things that become extraordinary things to someone every day -- we ARE changing the world.

How growth-mindset of me. ;)