Christians have always changed the world. Sometimes deliberately and sometimes through the unintended consequences of preaching the gospel, making disciples and building the church. Either way, the world is massively better off because the followers of Jesus have brought about transformation wherever they have gone.

They cared for the sick, built the first hospitals and preserved the scriptures and ancient classics for future generations. They were in the forefront of the development of schools and universities, of good laws and justice for the poor, of care for children and minority groups. They championed the value of music and theatre and the power of storytelling. They taught the value of work and rest and that society should be structured accordingly.

Christians have not been perfect but overall, the world is in a much better place because of our work for cultural, social and spiritual renewal down the ages.

However, this is not just a matter of ancient history. Christians are still doing the same today and you don’t have to be important or powerful to really make a difference.


Naomi was a young graduate banker in a major financial institution who wanted to make a difference despite having a very junior role in a very status-driven world, so she decided to challenge some of her peers to cultivate the habit of generosity.

She suggested that together they choose a small number of charities and put money aside each month to help alleviate some of the brokenness that is so evident. People started to get excited about what they could give. Then one of the senior executives offered to match- fund whatever the graduates gave. Then the bank offered to match fund whatever the graduates and the executive gave. The next year, they did the same again. So, in two years, Naomi helped her friends raise £250,000 for charities doing really important work and just as importantly Naomi taught those who one day were likely to be very wealthy, the joy of giving.

I think this is what we should all be doing, thinking about how we can use our gifts to make a positive difference wherever we are. After all, this is the very first command that we receive in the scriptures.

In the beginning, God’s garden was perfect, but because it was also living, God commanded Adam and Eve to tend and watch over it.’ Without them, the garden was going to spoil. And this is what Christians like Naomi and countless others have been doing ever since.

David 1

We never find this calling rescinded in scripture, but we do see it extended. 

And that’s because of the tragedy of the fall (Genesis 3). This trajectory of brokenness and sin continues into our present world. 

As disciples, this is where our mission field now extends. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, taking on Himself the whole of sin and suffering since the fall, He brings us a way of healing for every part of life. As the Apostle Paul anticipates, Jesus’ death reconciles all things’ to Him (Colossians 1:20). All things! And this work of reconciliation takes shape within the mission of His church. We now work for the renewal of all things – meeting needs, healing hurts, and shaping culture. And at the heart of everything, we get to introduce people to Jesus – the Reconciler Himself. 

It was the great musician, JS Bach, who used to say that his work was for the glory of God and the refreshment of man’s soul”. The early church father, Irenaeus, used to say that, the glory of God is a man or woman fully alive”. 

What would you need to use your passions and gifts for the glory of God and the refreshment of man’s soul’? And how would you do it in such a way that you could live, fully alive’, bringing glory to God as a result? 

Jesus invites us all to follow in the footsteps of the many who have gone ahead of us and join Him in the renewal of all things. Let’s give ourselves afresh to His mission and trust Him for change and transformation wherever He takes us. 

"What would you need to use your passions and gifts for ‘the glory of God and the refreshment of man’s soul’? And how would you do it in such a way that you could live, ‘fully alive’, bringing glory to God as a result?"

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