The grander scheme of things: Part II

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By Danette Vernon

In my last tribute to the ideal of transformation, I encouraged everyone to consider what would constitute their “perfect day,” but within the context of two questions: What do you want to get out of life, and what do you have to offer the world that no one else does? The framework pretty much forced the details of the perfect day beyond warm sand, a cool drink and an attentive lover.

It would be easy to avoid the exercise altogether, if you think that you’re not the sort of person who gets involved, or that you’re not cut out for a bigger part in the grander scheme of things then you already have — you’re no Joan of Arc.

But you don’t have to be.

Erwin McManus, who pastors a contemporary church in California, tells the tale of his wanting to create a sense, even at the outset, that his ministry was a part of much larger picture — even if all of his correspondence originated from a typewriter in the middle of his living room at the time. In addition, he found himself dreaming of that pastoral moment wherein he gave his finest sermon.

Then one rainy afternoon while driving with his pregnant wife, they passed a homeless man whose cart of belongings had tipped over into a gutter flooding with rainwater. His wife shouted, “Stop!” She suggested with a pleading look that “they” get out and help the poor man. Erwin knew she means that “he” should get out and help the bum in the rain.

The rain slowed to dirty drizzle and in a state of disgust Erwin grimly helped the man pick up what Erwin describes as trash, and wet trash, at that. He tried to talk to the old man about Jesus, but his efforts were sullenly brushed aside. When he got back in the car, he saw his wife was crying. His first thought was that his wife was going to accuse of him of not doing the deed with a “good attitude.” Instead she said, “That was the greatest sermon you ever preached.”

He had hoped that inspired moment would add up to more, and it had. His random act of service on a rainy day became a story he would tell before thousands years later, because it was a pivotal juncture, among many, wherein he found his footing as a man with a finely tuned sense of humor and humility.

But what if you don’t want to wait for a pivotal moment “to happen” to you? To paraphrase common wisdom, what if you want to create the change you want to see in the world, within yourself, now?

More to come …

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