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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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