Do you want to make an impact?
J. Hudson Taylor is a well-known missionary to China in the 19th Century. What people may not realize is that his decision impacted his family to serve the Chinese people for nine generations! And it all started with one man’s burden.
James Hudson Taylor was weary and ill and had gone to visit friends in Brighton, England, where he hoped to find rest and spiritual enrichment. It was Sunday, June 25, 1865, and he had accompanied his friends to the morning worship service; but Taylor was “unable to bear the sight of rejoicing multitudes in the house of God.”
He left the meeting and walked down to the seashore, his heart greatly burdened. How could so many believers be so joyful and yet do so very little to share that joy with the lost, especially the lost in China? On that Sunday morning, Hudson Taylor resolved that, with the Lord’s help, he would begin a mission to reach the lost of inland China. Two days later, he went to the London and County Bank and with a ten-pound note opened an account in the name of the China Inland Mission.
That piece of Christian history reminds me of what Jesus did, as recorded at the end of John 8. It was the last day of the weeklong Festival of Booths and the people were celebrating in the temple. At the same time, their religious leaders were rejecting their own Messiah, who was standing among them; in fact, they were on the verge of stoning Him! Undisturbed, Jesus calmly departed from the temple area and obeyed Isaiah 42:7 by bringing light to a blind beggar: “To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”1
Maybe like J. Hudson Taylor you have a burden that you can’t shake.
8 Ways to have an impact for generations
1. Pay attention to the burden God has put on your heart. Is there an issue that rubs you the wrong way? Is there a need you can’t stop thinking about? Perhaps you can relate to the cause. I’m passionate about helping teen moms because I used to be one. My friend Kayleigh is dedicated to reaching out to women caught up in human trafficking because she was victimized as a young girl.
2. Ask questions. If you could do one thing to help others, what would it be? Turn to God and ask Him to show you how you can help. I helped start a crisis pregnancy center in 1999. I’m good about sharing the passion and connecting with volunteers. Today, I’m using those same skills in my work with our teen mom support group, but I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if I hadn’t asked, “God, what can I do?”
3. Take the first step. Every impacting ministry or outreach started with one first step. Maybe you need to seek out a professional organization for guidance. Maybe you need to talk to a pastor or friend about your passion and seek their advice. Maybe you need to read a book on the subject. The hardest step is usually the first one, but as you take it next steps become clear.
4. Be the expert. Passion only gets you so far. Knowledge points you to where you need to go. It also gets others on board. Even though I was a teen mom, I only knew things from my perspective. Once I started researching teen pregnancy, I became an “expert” on how ordinary people could help young women. As I became an expert, I had the confidence to help. I also had the confidence to share the need, my passion, and the solution with others.
5. Realize that it all depends on God. God didn’t give you this passion and then say, “There you go . . . have fun trying to make it work.” God put the passion for a cause within you, and then He seeks to give you the wisdom and strength to make a difference.
You don’t have to do everything yourself; depend on Him!
6. See success through God’s eyes. We want to make an impact, and often we think this means making a BIG impact. Jesus could have waved His hand and healed multitudes at a time. Instead, He reached out and touched individuals, focusing on that person, in that moment.
7. Focus on the one person in front of you–show him/her the light. There were always be more needs than what we can meet. We can’t help everyone. There will be an end to our resources. But you can help one, or two, or twenty with God’s help.
8. Realize that your greatest work is passing on the flame. We can only run so far, for so long. Think of making an impact as passing on the flame like those who help carry the torch for the Olympics. I helped start Hope Pregnancy Center, and I’ve started Teen MOPS support groups. Throughout the years hundreds of people have volunteered and continue to volunteer. It’s an amazing thing to know that a ministry will continue, even if I move or if I’m out of the picture. It’s not about what we can do, it’s about what we can do together.
What about you? What is your passion? What type of impact do you want to make?
1Wiersbe, Warren W. (2011-01-01). Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ (pp. 55-56). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.