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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This was 10 years ago. I dominated my son in wrestling and I know what you're thinking, "How could you employ a rear chokehold armbar kimura on your own son?" Hey, a competition is a competition.

I love you, son. The world is broken. This ia a sad truth. But the story of redemption is not yet finished. God is not yet done. This is the ultimate Truth. Have hope. Press on. Ten years ago, I witnessed one of those "God things" when a church called Interbay Covenant Church gave itself, its legacy, and a building property worth $7 million dollars to @seattlequest. We were then only 5 years old.

Quest is an urban, multiethnic churchplant that started in 2001. We rented the facilities at Interbay Covenant Church - a predominantly older, mostly Anglo congregation with a rich 65 years history. After some time, Pastor Ray Bartel (senior pastor, Interbay) approached me with a "crazy idea" of Interbay "dying to itself and giving itself to Quest" for the sake of the greater Kingdom and the coming generations.

This eventually led to three years of many conversations and prayers. On June 3, 2007, the two churches officially came together to become one church. In giving itself, Interbay also shared their leadership, legacy, and stories. They also gave all of their assets without any strings and without any debt.

Their radical generosity and courage is what enabled Quest to grow - not just numerically - but deeper in discipleship, and deeper in missions - to the city of Seattle and beyond. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of this merger, we created a short film (check my FB page to see the video) to tell the story - so that our church and the next generations may never forget and that the larger Church may be stirred and encouraged by a greater Kingdom vision.

Thank you, Interbay! The NBA season is over but the hustle and grind continues for my daughter. We argue sometimes but I love training my daughter. She's working hard for her senior year next year. Starting point guard. She's improved a lot. She's one of the quickest players on the floor and has a great midrange jumper. But trying to get her to keep working on her handles, using her off hand and shoulder to protect the ball,  staying and dribbling the ball lower to the ground, and playing aggressive and downhill while remaining in control. That's what we're working on this week. #hoopdreams #ChovarBall Reunited with my favorite elephant, Buh'loom. We bonded earlier this year and I'd like to think that she recognized my voice. Also, appreciate learning about ethical and sustainable eco-tourism. Anywhere. Everywhere. Night markets are the best.

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