Do you believe that one person has the power to transform the world? I believe as Christians we strive to live an impactful life. Through our faith, we have the desire to live a meaningful life that inspires those around us. Yet can one person's individual faith really inspire the world? We might be inclined to think that only celebrities, politicians, or people with a public platform have the power to influence the world. Yet can an individual really make a difference in the world?
Last June my mom called me to say that my Nana was declining and probably only had the rest of the month left to live. She lived in Pennsylvania and with my immediate family living in Tennessee, we knew we probably were not going to get the chance to say goodbye to her in person. With my new job I was unable to make the trip up to hug her one last time before she passed.
Nana lived her whole life in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She was a very simple woman and lived a very modest life. The most important things in her life were her faith in God and her family. Nana was a devout Methodist. She went to church every Sunday morning, sang in the choir, attended Bible studies, and helped with outreach events in her community. She met her husband in the choir at church. Together they had two kids, and raised a loving family that grew into the one I know today.
Nana had a small circle of friends and family that she loved very dearly. Nana never cared to leave Carlisle–and never understood why we all decided to. Every Sunday night we would call her to tell her about our week and see how she was doing. She always remembered every detail of what we told her. I was always amazed how she’d remember my new best friend's name or what they were studying. She cared about everyone who entered her sphere from my friends to her neighbors.
A transformational phone call
The last time I called her was on a Sunday afternoon. I knew that she was sleeping most of the time and did not have the energy to talk to anyone so I did not expect her to pick up. I struggled to call her because I didn’t want her to hear me cry. When I finally screwed up my courage and called, she picked up the phone. I struggled to find words. I managed to say that I loved her and missed her. I told her about how I graduated from college and got a job. She asked me about my puppy and if he was still chewing up my pencils. That made me laugh. She remembered all the little things. Then I told her that I loved her again and again and again. She was getting tired and I was getting choked up. I could not say goodbye so I told her that I would talk to her soon.
A few weeks later I flew up to Pennsylvania for the funeral. No one in our family was expecting a lot of people to show considering Nana outlived the majority of the people in her circle. Yet one by one, friends and neighbors came walking in to give their condolences and tell us how Nana touched their lives. So many people. Nana never strived to be an influential figure of faith, but here was a room filled with people who had been touched by her life. My Nana had a quiet faith, one that touched people individually. I think this is how Jesus wants us to be.
Influencing for good
Today we think of people who have large followings on social media as the biggest influencers on the world. Yet Jesus had a huge influence without a Twitter or Facebook account. Jesus transformed the world by loving one person at a time. There are countless stories in the New Testament about Jesus loving one person at a time.
In Luke 10:25-28, Jesus tells us that in order to have eternal life you must love the Lord your God with all your soul, strength, and mind. You must also ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. From scripture we learn that if we seek God we will find God. When we find God we start to know God. The more we know God the more we love God and those around us.
The beauty in salvation is that it not only has the power to transform the life of an individual, but it has the power to transform communities and even the world. Nana’s love for God and for her community left an imprint on the hearts of those around her. I am inspired by my Nana’s life and walk of faith. Her legacy is proof that if we as individuals seek God and allow God to change us internally then we can transform the lives of those around us for the good.
Madison Myers is a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in marketing, and a young professional. She has traveled to a majority of America's National Parks and is eager to see them all.