As can often be the case in student affairs, a little cheesy can go a long way in getting people off their seats and at least active in community, and to an extent I bought into this sentiment - we can all create change. It sure sounded good.
But as I got a little bit older and began to get my feet wet in what they call "the real world," my optimism began to harden. As I started initiatives, businesses, and engaged with more and more people outside the academic environment, I quickly came to what I thought was a realization that, in fact, very few people are capable of creating change. Most people seem to be content with the past, scared of the present, and apathetic about the future. The really skilled people who can think, develop, create, innovate, design, well, they're pretty few and far between. And I figured if I was going to make a difference in the world I needed to hang out with those 10% and just make things happen.
Good thing the younger version of me can get a pass for being a little immature and a lot of stupid! A verse in Titus 3 soon rocked my world. As it turns out, Ashoka may be on to something....
In a letter to church leaders, Paul tells Titus to spread the idea that "our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful" (Titus 3:14, NASB).
I don't always look at the Greek, but when I do, I'm pretty amazed. The word Paul uses for "good deeds" literally means "enterprise, entrepreneurship, business, initiatives, projects," and "things made with hands." It also makes a subtle hint at a major difference between what is "work" and what is "not work."
In other words, paying for someone's Starbucks ahead of them or rescuing the neighbor's cat out of a tree are really nice gestures, and we should keep doing them, but that's not what Paul is talking about here. Paul is talking about the hard stuff. The beautiful, in-the-trenches, incredibly edgy hard work that meets pressing needs. And why? So people make something of their lives. That they're fruitful executing the creative spirit that God has given to all of us.
All of us. It's in the Bible. Everyone has the capacity, the purpose, of creating big, meaningful solutions to really hard problems. Here. While we're on the planet.
Perhaps the part that hits home the hardest is the fact that, as leaders, we're expected to see what God sees in the people around us, that creative potential, and we're supposed to be the ones that help people learn empathy, innovation, design, entrepreneurship, and lifetime learning. That's been a huge mindset shift for me. It's no longer good enough to complain about what I do or don't see in others. There's a standard God has for each and every one of us, and it's on me as a leader to help people find that. Every single person.
Everyone's a Changemaker, and it's in the Bible!