“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” Luke 16:10 NIV.
My wife and I were watching TV this past week, and we saw a story on “60 Minutes” about a program called Hope Chicago. It featured a story about a man who decided to change the fate of the entire south side of Chicago. He gave the whole high school a life-changing gift. He paid for their college – room, board, tuition, and expenses. So, of course, the kids went nuts when they announced it.
Many of these kids worked full-time while in high school, and most households in their city earn under $25,000 per year. The driving force behind the gift was a man who explained that he thought he had hit the triple lottery: the family he was born into, the income level of that family that allowed him choices, and the schools he attended. He had made a fortune in his lifetime and was trying to impact the entire city. It was ironic that he had made a large portion of his income as one of the largest growers of medical-grade cannabis.
Most of the people interviewed did not see how they would make something of themselves. They just knew they would try despite the statistics showing the changes were minor. One of the kids they interviewed talked boldly about his absolute faith. He had no idea how, but he was optimistic that God would provide. After the gift was announced, his enthusiasm was evident. He said, “I haven’t had time to pray about that assembly, but God is going to get some special time tonight.”
The best part of the show for me was right after they announced all those young kids were college-bound. It came after they announced that the program would provide professional guidance on financial literacy, goal setting, and whatever else they needed until they got their degree. The program is not about sending them to college. It exists to help them finish it.
Then they topped it. The parents, who were also invited to this event, would go to college too. Parents or guardians, who were part of that income statistic of under $25,000 per year, were going back to attend the college or trade school of their choice. The camera turned to a lady who had five children. She worked multiple jobs continuously and managed to get her first two children through college. With three kids still to go, she would have known how daunting the task was. The camera zoomed in to see her utterly dumbfounded at what she had just heard. A tired mom took a breath. It was pretty cool.
It was easy to think about a billionaire spending money. He had plenty. But his gift was also duplicated at more than one school. He had committed to pay over $300 million in 10 years.
It had me thinking about how large an impact one man can have. It had me thinking about how small the impact that I am making is. We could not do the same thing for one kid. Then I remembered that we have done that more than once. Ours. We fully funded Jordyn’s life, and I think she outlived me. She has done 16 more than I have so far; 58 years have done. She packed it full. Then came Aly, one of the best people I have ever met. She is grown and married, a gifted teacher, and an even better mom. She owes me somewhere around $439,517, but who is counting? Finally, she handed Harlee the best debt cancelation ever. Korbin is his kind of gift to the world. His contribution will never be measured in money, but it is bigger than I can ever calculate. The most significant impact I will ever have in this world will funnel through my kids.
My point is this: if I measure my impact on the world, I always count it against something I feel inferior to in life. Why? I think we should be good stewards of what we have been given, not of what we have not been given. Jesus does not comparatively save me. I get full grace. So can you. How To Make An Impact In The World? Be an example of good stewardship. Be like Jesus in all that you do to impact the world.
As I get older, I sometimes think my opportunity to have an impact is shrinking. I probably have three decades left on this earth. I was 28 three decades ago. God can do a lot with that amount of time. Now I have a granddaughter. There is no telling what she will end up doing.
I don’t have much money to give away. But what do I have? I am at peace. Maybe someone around me needs some of that.
If I don’t have time or money to give, maybe I have space in my heart. I can pray off and on all day. Do I? Do you?
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Author: Rick Claiborn