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Have you ever wished you could do something that would change the world? Your wish has been granted. Are you tempted to think that your obscure, little life will leave no mark on the world? You have no idea how wrong you are.
All of History Will Be Different Because You Lived
Your very existence has already unalterably changed the course of world history. All of us, from the child who does not survive the womb to the centenarian, leave indelible marks in the lives of those around us and those who come after us. Our purposeful or incidental interactions and intersections with other people affect the timing of events or ideas or decisions that direct the future trajectory of their lives, eventually affecting millions.
Not only that, but as creatures made in God’s image, God has conferred upon us the incredible dignity of being sub-creators who are given real power to change the course of history through what we create. What we make with words and wood and wire and water wells and scalpels and glass and chalkboards and stone and combine harvesters and paper and glue and musical notes and motion pictures and animals and meals and photos and spreadsheets and fabrics and computer code and time with our toddler or teen and IV needles and oil paints and nails and vacuums and PVC pipe and shingles and sermons and prosthetic limbs and financial investments and welding torches and the gentle care of wounded souls is of inestimable importance and value.
Lives are changed for better or worse by how we live the life we’re given and what we make with the talents we’ve been given. In fact, if you knew how much your life actually impacts others, how far that impact extends, and some of the unforeseen massively important things that result, it might frighten you into near paralysis, fearing you might cause a calamity.
No Such Thing As an Unimportant Life
There is no such thing as an unimportant, meaningless life. Life would only be meaningless if atheism were true. Then all of reality would be meaningless.
Every life God creates is good and has a purpose, and therefore possesses a certain sacredness (Genesis 1:31). As stewards of the earth, we humans should approach all life with appropriate reverence (Genesis 1:26), especially other human lives (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 19:19; Matthew 5:44).
This is one reason why abortion and euthanasia are such evils. Every life aborted at its beginning, middle, or end also alters the course of history. Whenever we take a life, another’s or our own, we affect far more people than we understand.
Are you wise enough to know whether an unborn child’s descendants should not live and change history? Are you wise enough to know whether a disabled or diseased person’s life has ceased to change, enrich, or direct the course other lives? “Can you find out the deep things of God” (Job 11:7)?
There is only One who is qualified to play God and it is his to give and take away human life (Job 1:21).
Many Who Are First Will Be Last, and the Last First
We humans are very poor judges when it comes to assessing the importance of a life. Too often we claim to be wise and show ourselves fools (Romans 1:22). Too often we vie with others for the title, “The Greatest,” not understanding what greatness really is (Luke 9:46–48).
The truth is, we rarely know who the real great ones are — those whose lives prove truly great in God’s assessment and bear the longest-lasting fruit generations from now. But we do know that Jesus said, “many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:30).
Therefore, we must be careful not to “judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). And this means that we “not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Live Prayerfully and Carefully with the Kingdom in View
The life you have been given is an assignment from the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:17). You don’t need to be someone else and you don’t need to be somewhere else. You need to be who and where God wants you to be. Because your assigned life is not just about you. It’s also about hundreds of others around you and hundreds of thousands of others who will come after you.
And since you are not wise or foreseeing enough to chart your own course for the sake of your present and future fruitfulness, you must follow Jesus by faith. He is your Shepherd and will help you hear his voice so you can follow him in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (John 10:27; Psalm 23:3).
You will change the world, more than you know. And because of that, because your life will impact so many others, Jesus wants you to live prayerfully (Ephesians 6:18), walk carefully (Ephesians 5:15), and seek his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). If you do, if you faithfully invest the “little” he has entrusted to you, no labor of yours in this life will be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58) and he will entrust you with more in the life to come (Matthew 25:21).