Monday, December 18, 2006

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who made it possible.

I have been named Time's Person of the Year.

You haven't heard. Yep. Little ol' me received it. I just found out today.

Now, it's not a popularity contest. And it isn't supposed to be a recognition of something. Time just chooses a person to grace a special issue at the end of the year who has made an impact on the world. And I was chosen.

Oh. You don't believe me. Well, I should mention that you have been chosen also.

Time's Person of the Year is YOU.

When I heard about this, I thought it was really just a gimmick. But then I read this statement.

"If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people," said Richard Stengel, who took over as Time's managing editor earlier this year. "But if you choose millions of people, you don't have to justify it to anyone."

As I read this, two thoughts come to mind.

1.) This sounds like laziness to me. And I know lazy. If you have to choose one person to recognize as affecting millions of people, you have to work at choosing someone. You have to analyze the impact an individual has made in the world. You have to critique whether a person has truly done something that is worthy and how many people it affected. You also have to look at people from around the world. Maybe someone in another country did something to affect millions of people.

But if you choose millions of people, then you don't have to consider the impact of individuals. You don't have to study the deeds or actions. You can sit in your office chair and pat yourself on the back for being clever. And you let all those readers feel a little better about themselves.

If you pick millions of people, only the editor feels good about it.

2.) I was reminded of one of best friends favorite lines from The Incredibles.

Dash(the young, speedy son): You always say 'Do your best', but you don't really mean it. Why can't I do the best that I can do?
Helen (Elastigirl): Because right now, honey, the world just wants us to fit in, and fitting in means acting like everyone else.
Dash: But dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone's special Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.

Granted, each one of us is valuable in the sight of God. We have ALL been given wonderful gifts by God's Spirit to do great things for the Kingdom of God. But there have been some who truly have made a significant impact on people's lives. And to say that you and I, just because we use the internet, are the Persons of the Year, it makes some truly wonderful deeds cheap and empty.

And this brings me to my point. You and I are called to be people of great deeds. We have been chosen by God to be the messengers of the Gospel. We have been commissioned (sent out with authority) to share with the world (near and far) the wonderful story of Jesus Christ.

We aren't called to be apologists (people who argue and defend the basic points of the faith). Nor are we called to be foreign missionaries (in truth, the USofA is the number one mission location in the world). We are just story tellers. Your life and experience with Jesus Christ makes you uniquely qualified to share the Gospel with others.

How?

Only you have experienced Jesus Christ in the manner in which you have. Huh?

No one can take your experience with Jesus and make it their own. No one can copy the way in which Christ was revealed. But you can share your story with others. And in that sharing, they become a little more open to Christ working in them in a unique way. They may not be the flavor of Christian you are. But no one is.

Mother Teresa didn't expect people to be like her. She knew that she was who she was because of the way Christ was revealed in her, through her, and around her. You can't be Mother Teresa. You can't be Billy Graham. You can't be Todd Bergman.

You can only be who you can be.
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