Last Sunday, I began a new series of messages for the summer on the life of the shepherd boy who became king, David. I am excited about what the Lord is going to teach us through this series, from defeating life’s giants (coming up this Sunday), to handling relational adversity, to finding restoration from sin’s consequences. But mostly, my heart’s desire in studying David is that we would become men and women “after God’s own heart.”
In Sunday’s message, I referenced a classic book from the 1970’s that I had to read in college, called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig. The book was a narration of a summer motorcycle trip across the Pacific Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. I doubt I could say that I agree with the general worldview of the book, especially in regard to the existential pseudo-spiritual implications included in it, but there was at least one significant point that I think Pirsig got right.
He said that the place to change the world–and who in the ’70’s didn’t want to change the world?–was to begin in one’s own heart and work out from there. No doubt, there’s plenty about the world that needs changing these days, but the best and only place we can really start in in our own lives, and in our own hearts. It brings to mind an old hymn we used to sing in my church growing up: “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.”
The following words were written on the tomb of an Anglican bishop in the crypts of Westminster Abbey:
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it too seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now as I lay on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.
So, what is it about the world you think needs changing? Or, closer to home, about our country? Or perhaps at your work place, in our church, or in your family? God wants to start right where you are and change you first, as He Himself transforms you by the power of His Holy Spirit, as you make yourself available to Him. From there He’ll work in you and through you to change the world.
I pray that today you’ll allow His touch of grace to minister hope and peace to your heart and bring change to your life first. I pray that for myself too. Who knows, you and I–and Jesus Christ working in us–may even change the world!
I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning, as we join our services together for a great time of worship. Until then, have a blessed weekend.