Eugene Cho

the best part of wanting to change the world

I’m thankful that God rarely answers our constant requests of wanting to know the future.

Why?

Because if we knew, we’d never move forward. We’d be tempted to do what Jonah did: He ran the other way.

I can tell you right now that if I knew what the past year or the past 10 years would have been like, I’d be in complete paralysis. I have no idea what the next decade holds for me but I no longer want or need to know. It’s in good hands. I’ll just do my best. Live by grace. And trust.

I’m a dreamer. Yes, I have my bouts with cynicism but in my heart of hearts, I am a dreamer and an idealist. I believe I can change the world. But over the years, I have learned an amazing lesson:

The best part of wanting to change the world…is that you get changed in the process.

It might not be what you envisioned or even wanted but this is often the case. And more often that not, there are difficult things that take place that humble you, test you, push you, embitter you, frustrate you, but ultimately change you…for the better.

That has certainly been the case for me:

9 years ago, Minhee and I sought out to plant a church in the city of Seattle. I had no idea how difficult it would be to get things started. The stock market crashed in 2000 and interested investors disappeared. We were late on our mortgage payments. Minhee was pregnant with our second child. I couldn’t get a job for the life of me and after several months of looking, the job I finally landed was…

a custodian.

Yup, I was a then – 31 year old – custodian for a Barnes & Nobles store (above). Man, I kept that store so clean…

Honestly, I was so angry and bitter but through that experience, God humbled and changed me.

And last year, I made (thus far) the most difficult decision as a father and husband in our hopes of honoring our pledge and starting One Day’s Wages. The decision tore me up in so many ways and I was feeling so beat up, discouraged, and full of doubt. Honestly, I wept in my office wondering, “What the hell is wrong with you?” … but over the course of this past year, God has used the trials and struggles to change me.

This is why I know God loves me: He keeps working, molding, transforming, and changing me…all while loving me as I am.

Go ahead. Go for it.

Go ahead and try to change the world – however small, smaller, or big. Because in the process, God will change you.

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9 Responses

  1. mo says:

    Awesome. We usually think about being paralyzed by the unknown, but you make a great point about the KNOWN being just as paralyzing.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Amy Voss, Caron Nicole , Caron Nicole , Kiefer Partridge and others. Kiefer Partridge said: RT @EugeneCho: The best part of wanting to change the world is that YOU will get changed. – http://bit.ly/aJsEtX […]

  3. wana says:

    Thanks for always sharing so openly about your struggles and how God is working in them. I’ve always been one to feel anxious about the future so this is especially encouraging.

    Btw, I must confess that I’ve been a lurker for years. heh.

  4. […] the best part of wanting to change the world « eugene cho […]

  5. rkalal says:

    We are in a passage of unknowns right now. I recently heard somewhere a comment that Joseph had no idea why he was in jail for 13 years. When would it end? Would it end? What was it for? What about those dreams, those plans for his life? Going forward, we just have to wait in the unknowns, make them the knowns: a time to pursue Jesus and trust Him. Until the time passes and God moves.

  6. Great point. My wife just mentioned the same thing to me yesterday – would I have quit my finance job to start our ministry if I knew what the last 5 months were going to look like? – not likely. Thank God He is God. Our faith and His power have carried it through it all. I’m just learning that sometimes the most important part of walking daily with Jesus is the word “daily”.

  7. […] world. They are – per the title of the article – “doing it yourself.” And the best part of wanting to change the world […]

  8. […] I worked as a janitor for the first 6 months trying to make ends meet. […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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