As I prepare to teach the Word of God at our youth group tonight, I am reading through biographies of people who have changed the world. Some have done so for the good of mankind while others have not. I want to teach tonight on how to change your world for the good of everyone around you. Something like that is possible, both for adults and teens (even children). I want to present how it is possible and encourage people to take action.
We live in a day and age when people are very egotistical and apathetic all at the same time. I believe the two things go hand in hand. Since you are the center of your world, you do everything to serve yourself and become apathetic to the needs of the people around you. The Bible teaches the opposite truth, we need to be selfless and serve the people around us. We need to love them and care for them. It is impossible to do this without God’s help. Let’s turn to the Word to learn how we can change our world.
I. Realize that selfishness and apathy are not new things, they have been around since mankind fell into sin.
12 “It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good or evil !’ 13 “Moreover, their wealth will become plunder And their houses desolate ; Yes, they will build houses but not inhabit them, And plant vineyards but not drink their wine.” (Zephaniah 1)
Israel had become prosperous as a nation and the people became selfish, looking out for themselves instead of depending upon God and serving one another, like that had done in the past. God pronounces His judgment upon them and shares why. They had become stagnant in spirit. They no longer cared about others. They decided that the Lord had allowed them to become wealthy to let them enjoy life and do what they wanted with it. They became selfish, not caring about others. God was about to step in and place their feet back on the ground and give them a nice dose of reality. The same thing was happening in Sodom, when God came and destroyed the city.
49 “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom : she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16)
The people were wealthy and living in careless ease. Those who had, only cared about themselves, even though they were in a position to care for others. They refused to help the poor and the needed. They had become apathetic to them and their needs. They were just living for themselves.
II. Do not be egotistical and apathetic towards others. Jonah was supposedly a man of God yet he demonstrates his selfishness and apathy once he receives a holy calling from God.
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1)
The Lord called Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach the Gospel so that they would repent and turn to God, avoiding righteous judgment. God cared about the people of Nineveh while Jonah did not. He only cared about his own skin and that is why he ran in the opposite direction of God’s instructions. It gets worse for Jonah. Because he is selfish, he is also apathetic to the needs of others. In fact, he shows that he cares more about plants than people’s lives.
10 Then the LORD said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight . 11 “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals ?” (Jonah 4)
Jonah had no compassion for the people. You see, apathy (lack of compassion for the lives of others) comes as a result of being selfish. If you want to change the world, then you must care about others and seek to serve them for their own good.
III. The only way that you can avoid being selfish and apathetic, leading you to want to serve others, is by answering the call of wisdom (the Word of God). In the proverbs of king Solomon, we find this passage, Proverbs 1:20-33. Wisdom is personified and is calling out in the streets for someone to hear her, accept her, and follow her. Few are actually answering the call. As a result, people are living for themselves and bringing judgment upon themselves. Have you answered the call? Do you know that God wants to use you to change your world? Are you ready to answer that call or will you ignore it and live life for yourself?
Here is a list of people who have answered the call and changed their world.
1. Mother Teressa – at the age of 18 she set out to be a missionary/school teacher in India after she received the calling from God. The world has not been the same since.
2. Florence Nightingale – at the age of 17, she answered God’s call and became a nurse so that she could serve others. She founded what we now know as Nursing School and the world has never been the same since. She came from a wealthy family and could have spent her life in a very selfish and apathetic way, but she did not.
3. LOUIS BRAILLE – at 15 he developed the system that millions of blind people use today, known as Braille. He decided to serve his fellow man and at a young age, he changed the world.
4. Samantha Smith – at 10 years old, she become the youngest American ambassador of peace between the USA and the USSR. She also wanted to serve her fellow man.
What about you, will we be able to add your name to this list in the future? If not, why not? May the Lord help us learn to serve our fellow man.