My friends and I change the world

                                                                  

Audrey and Heather

(Published in Christian Courier, October 25, 2010) 

Country singer Johnny Reid has a new song called “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World.” The lyrics are appealing: “I’m gonna say hello to my neighbour/Shake the hand of a stranger/Today I’m gonna try and change the world.”

But I’ve got Johnny beat. My friends and I didn’t just try to change the world. We did!

Heather and Audrey participated in the Ride for Refuge in London on October 2nd. They are busy moms. Audrey runs a day care in her home. Heather is a reporter for Sarnia This Week. The time and energy it took to be involved in the ride was definitely sacrificial. So, of course, I volunteered to sponsor them.

Both women rode on behalf of the CRWRC.  Heather organized a pasta supper at her church. Audrey unabashedly canvassed every person she knew. They biked in a torrential downpour. Together they raised over $300o, among the highest fundraisers of the 162 riders.

Grace and Gertie are  members of our church’s HANDS Team, a group signed up with Worldwide Christian Schools to work in the  Dominican Republic next February. The team held a dinner on October 15, raising a substantial sum towards construction materials and accommodations.  Excitement is building as our church rallies behind them to reach out beyond our walls in the name of Christ. I attended the dinner and, of course, wrote a cheque.

            Grace and Emma and Gertie

Theresa is part of a committee that organizes an annual Golf Tournament in October to benefit our local Christian school.  She’s my neighbour, a fellow gardener and church member.  Mark and I usually play in the tournament, but we couldn’t this year, so we sponsored a hole instead.

Maggie is our church custodian. She’s on the Enfolding/Evangelism Committee.  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, so Maggie and the committee collected funds to deliver a surprise basket of goodies to our pastor and his family. I love that.  It’s important to encourage and sustain pastors. You guessed it… I handed over a few bucks.

Harry headed up a committee to install a new audio-visual system in our church. He spent months scoping out ideas to upgrade the technological aspects of our worship. The goal is to maximize both the sound and visual delivery systems for the benefit of our seniors. On October 4th, Harry and a bunch of other volunteers roughed in the new system. My pledge came due!

The one, the many

I’m honoured to call these individuals my friends. They are doers. They don’t wait for someone else to volunteer. But each one would be quick to point out the network of community support for their endeavours. And I believe my encouragement, prayer and practical monetary contributions are part of that group dynamic. Keeping it real here, my wallet is lighter by $960. That’s sacrificial, too.  

Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” My friends and I have done some small things with great love. But are we really any different than Johnny Reid? Like him, aren’t we just “trying” to make the world a better place? Stacked up against the weight of global poverty and injustice and the mounting cost of local ministries, our efforts may seem feather-light.

 But we find our hope in Jesus Christ. His was the great thing done with great love – bearing a world of sin in his own body, enduring hell itself, so the world could be changed. Any unselfish deed we try, whether it’s “saying hello to a neighbour,” or biking in a marathon, going on a  mission trip, organizing a golf tournament, sending a gift basket, or making a donation, if it’s grounded in the victory of our Saviour’s resurrection, it’s already added to the coming of the kingdom in this world and bears the stamp of eternal value for the next. Jesus, the firstfruits of the dead, changed the world. He changed the world so miraculously that our “small things” are engrafted into his “great thing.” He said so himself: “I have called you friends – I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15: 15, 16)

I’d like to tell Johnny Reid this: if we try to change the world, we will be defeated. But, in Christ, every smile, every cup of cold water, and every penny counts.

   Putting tape on one of the murals I painted. The other one is already on the wall.

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