In his 2014 commencement address to 8000 University of Texas graduates, Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime.
“…if every one of you changed the lives of just 10 people, and each one of those folks changed the lives of another 10 people—just 10—then in five generations, 125 years, the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people. . . .
“…changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.”
McRaven described how he witnessed one person make a difference every day he served in the Middle East. For example, a young army officer decided to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad, saving 10 soldiers and himself from an ambush. In Afghanistan, a Female Engagement Team officer sensed something was not quite right, so she directed a platoon away from a 500-pound IED, saving their lives, as well as their children yet unborn, and their children’s children.
In his book, Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer remarks that the world today would be unrecognizable— dark, impoverished, tortured—had totalitarianism won in the twentieth century. Its demise turned on one man.
“… victory required one man without whom the fight would have been lost at the beginning. It required Winston Churchill.”
Since the beginning of time, God has used individuals to carry out His plans and purposes. Not governments, societies, institutions, corporations, or even families change the world, but the individuals within those entities.
God has never looked for people of great faith or great giftedness to do His bidding, He looks for people who are willing to follow Him and practice His presence in every arena of life.
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. —2 Chronicles 16:9
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. —Ezekiel 22:30
Because first-century Christians took the Great Commission seriously and took their faith to work, the Good News spread throughout the Mediterranean region—and continued to spread from continent to continent, century after century. We are the beneficiaries of their faithfulness.
Today, God calls us to do the same—to play our role in the Great Commission and take our faith to work.