“While Your comfort is flowing through me to others, some of that blessing absorbs into me.”
– Jesus Listens, October 21
“I know! I’ll be an epidemiologist and help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. That’ll save the world!”
“I know! I’ll come up with a cure for cancer. That’ll save the world!”
“I know! I’ll be like a modern-day Mother Teresa and tend to the poor. That’ll save the world!”
A Life of Purpose
We all want to do something meaningful with our lives to bring about good in the world. As image-bearers of the God who saves, we find that desire formed into our very being. But if I’m honest, the older I get, the more realistic I am about what I can actually accomplish with what I have, and the less saving the world seems feasible to me.
What if I told you that saving the world looks different than you think? That it doesn’t have to be big and grand?
A Simple Directive
In Matthew 28:18–20, Jesus paints a picture of what saving the world actually looks like: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (niv, emphasis added).
Jesus calls all of his followers to join Him in his disciple-making work to save the world. But what does that even mean? What does that look like? Simply put, to make disciples of Jesus is to help people learn to have a relationship with Him and equip them to help someone else do the same. It is passing on what you know about living life with God to someone else, so that they are able to pass it on to someone else.
Let me share an example of what this looks like and how something this simple could have a world-changing impact.
I was discipled by a gal named Jane when I was in college. At the time, I was fresh out of treatment for my eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. Every week Jane shared with me some basics of having a relationship with God—how to have a quiet time, how to study the Bible, how to pray to God, how to share my faith with others. She even went so far as to come over to my apartment every morning for a week at 6 a.m. just so I could get in the rhythm of spending daily time with God. As we continued meeting, my relationship with Jesus deepened. I began to experience a freedom and healing that years of therapy couldn’t even come close to bringing. But the crazier thing that Jane shared? That God could—and wanted to!—use me to help others have a relationship with Him.
Spreading the Word
So that’s what I did. That girl who was fresh out of treatment for her eating disorders, her depression and anxiety, who had no theological training, who didn’t grow up in the church, started sharing what little she knew about having a relationship with Jesus with others. And then another young woman came to know Jesus and shared the good news of Jesus with her family, who all came to faith in Christ, including family members from Mexico. That young woman went on to help another young woman learn how to have a relationship with God, who helped another young woman, who led an international student from China to Christ. The kingdom impact goes on and on, all because of the faithfulness of each person to simply offer what they have to help someone not as far along in their walk with Jesus strengthen their relationship with Him.
I used to think that saving the world meant I had to do something big and extraordinary. The longer I’ve been walking with Jesus, the more I realize that saving the world means simply showing up in the relationships in my everyday life, being faithful to offer to God and others what little I have, and trusting God to do the rest of the work.
About the Author
Alice Matagora is the Leader Development Initiatives Program Coordinator for The Navigators and serves with The Navigators Collegiate ministry at the University of California at Irvine. She lives in California with her husband and children. Her latest book is How to Save the World: Disciplemaking Made Simple.