In a world that is broken and in desperate need of fixing how do we contribute to the fixing?
How do we play our part? How do we impact our communities?
How do we become a force for change?
Where do we even start?
Without doubt, finding one’s impact is key to success in one’s life.
For most people their impact is not what they do or achieve in a moment of inspiration but over a period of time – over an entire lifetime to be more precise. In some instances impact is only felt and appreciated after we have passed away.
Throughout history men and women left their impact on society – for better or for worse, some more lasting than others. Great men and women of God were used by God for impact in their lifetime and generation. But how did they find their impact? What commonality did they share to bring about the impact they had in God’s kingdom? Countless individuals in the Bible fall into the category of those who found their impact for God and kingdom. God’s testimony regarding this in the life of David is simply extraordinary.
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,
David achieved his impact by serving the purpose of God in his generation. It is the life dedicated to the service of God and His purpose that earned David this amazing accolade from God. David chose to serve God’s purpose in his generation. It was only after having served the purpose of God in his generation that David’s life came to a conclusion.
It is the same with us. Only when we intentionally align ourselves with and choose to serve God’s purpose in our lifetime can we achieve our impact.
But not only David but a host of other men and women of God passed away after having achieved their impact in their time and generation. We find a roll call of such people in Hebrews chapter 11 where the author presents us with what he terms, “a great cloud of witnesses” who cheer us on in our impact for our time and generation. These are people who received commendations for their impact – to be precise for the means of their impact, i.e. their faith. It was, the author establishes, on account of their faith they were able to find their impact for God and His kingdom.
Impact, in God’s Kingdom then, is first and foremost, achieved by faith.
The writer of Hebrews attests to that fact plainly as he literally scans the pages of the old testament, the Hebrew scriptures, to point us to the common denominator that underlined the impact and achievements of notable men and women of God which was their faith. Almost every other sentence in this chapter starts with the phrase, “By faith….” as if to drill into us the critical role of faith in impacting our time and generation. Every individual mentioned and applauded for their faith in Hebrews chapter 11 had an impact on their day and generation that was attributable to their faith. Faith was what made the difference in their achieving their purpose and finding their impact in their time and generation. Faith was identified and singled out as the single most important factor in their finding and achieving their impact.
True, there are other factors worth considering and analysing in their lives but faith was what stood out head and shoulders above them all and what united them all too. The writer of Hebrews effortlessly makes his evidence-based case for faith running the entire gamut of the old testament. He left his readers in no doubt as to the central and critical role of faith in the lives of these giants and their accomplishments. They found their respective impacts by faith. Faith was critical in enabling and empowering them for their enduring impact. In other words it was not possible without faith.
Faith is embedded in the culture of impact. Faith is the key and most basic ingredient to achieving impact for God and His kingdom. It is identified and singled out for being the basic ingredient required for achieving anything worth of note in the kingdom of God. Nobody achieved anything worth of note without faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) let alone achieve impact for His kingdom. Every impact made was achieved by faith. Faith was what these men and women of God were commended for. It was the basic ingredient attributed to the impact men and women of God made over the centuries.
The same goes for us. Nothing has changed as far as impact in God’s kingdom is concerned. Faith is still basic and key to finding and achieving our impact in our time and generation. In sharing the secret of the impact achieved by the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11, the writer of the Hebrews leaves us in no doubt about the place of faith in it all. The onus is upon us to prioritise and intentionally and systematically invest in our faith and trust in God – not casually or lackadaisically. If faith is indeed basic to achieving impact, then it deserves our utmost concentration and attention. Our firm faith in God and His everlasting word is the breeding ground for the enduring impact God has designed each one of us for in our generation. It is irreplaceable. Hence the need to cultivate and grow, fortify and allow it to flourish as faith is something dynamic and always evolving. Without a robust faith it is impossible to please God and connect with Him for enduring impact.
In his book “Understanding Leadership” Tom Marshall rightly states that “the New Testament has more to say about building faith after we have trusted Christ than about how to make the initial commitment in the first place.”
How seriously we invest in our faith will not only determine its growth and development but also demonstrate whether we mean business with God’s purpose in our lives for therein lies our impact in our generation.