How To Make A Lasting Difference in the World

Be Mastered – What It Means & Why You Need It

Hurrying down Kings Street, I could hardly wait to see the store. I don’t know what it was – I don’t know how or why the influence of man dead 38 years at the time had come to be so significant to me. What I knew was this: I had seen the Autobiography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a bookstore window and I was determined to have it.


A big hardcover book with a shiny jacket. To me – at the time – a tome.  I read everything – the front cover, the back cover, the printer’s information – everything!

“How did he accomplish what he did?”  “Could my life have such a significant impact too?” The more I read about his life and impact, the more I read to find his secret.

You can probably relate to the desire I had then as an eager 18 year old reading that book – filled with an ambition to make a meaningful difference in the world. Filled with a determination to not to waste my life. Yet, curious as to how exactly to go about it all.

I think I have found something that may help to guide us.

The more I read and observe those who have made an impact – in whatever field – the more I recognize that  if you want your life to count for something significant, then something extraordinary is required of you: you need to be mastered by something greater than yourself.

The Magnificent Idea

What do you need to know to make a lasting difference in the world? At least 10,000 things right? Maybe not. In Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper says something that hits the nail square on the head –  I think. You and I must be mastered by an idea. He said: 

You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are NOT the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on into eternity, you don’t need to have a high IQ. You don’t have to have good looks or riches or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things-or ONE great all-embracing thing-and be set on fire by them. (Emphasis mine)

– John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Read Chapter Online)

Read it again.

Piper’s message is life changing – if you accept it. There are at least 5 things I hope you saw:

1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ‘A REVOLUTIONARY’ TO BE REVOLUTIONARY.  Most people associate making a difference to big national political movements -Che Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr and the like. They forget science, singing, coding, painting as though Galileo Galilei, Bob Marley, Mark Zuckerberg & Michelangelo didn’t revolutionize the world too.

2. BEING MASTERED IS MORE THAN JUST HAVING A FAINT IDEA. To Mastered – is to be a slave to an idea, ambition, vision, purpose or calling.

3. YOUR MASTER WILL DETERMINE YOUR MISSION. Simply put, “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration” (James Allen). If all you do is sleep, watch television – who is your master?

4. YOUR MISSION WILL DETERMINE YOUR MOVEMENTS. Slaves don’t sleep or eat because they “feel like it”. Slaves sleep and eat – or not, when and if their master allows.

5. YOU MAY HAVE TO SEEK OUT A BETTER MASTER (if you are serious about getting a good one). It’s like when the young clumsy warrior seeks a Sensi – think Daniel San seeking out Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid. If you desire become an extraordinary person, you will almost certainly need to be deliberate at finding a worthwhile master.

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What masters you?

This is part 6 of the 7 part series Make 2013 a Stand Out Year.

Read the posts in this series:

1. So What If Everyone Thinks 2013 Will Be A Horrible Year?

2. Decide On Your Destination: Create A Personal “Life Plan”

3. One Thing For Your Daily MUST DO List: Get Out of the Pile!

4. Are You Improving Your Mind? Here Are 3 Reasons Why You Should Be

5.The Real Reasons You Should Care A Little More About Your Body (Now!)

6.[Special Post]10 Truths Every Young Adult Should Know About Faith




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