Authors: Sadie Robertson
Sometimes people think they cannot do anything to change the world. They think they’re nobodies, or they decide they do not have the brains, the experience, the skills, the money, or the creativity to make a difference. But that’s just not true. Everybody can do something. If that something does not seem like very much, that’s okay; do it anyway. I remember when I wanted so much to share Jesus with someone and I could not find anyone who needed to know about Him. So I prayed and asked God to give me opportunities. He did.
If you don’t think you can do anything to make a difference,
start praying. Pray that God will give you the chance you need. Especially if you are a Christian, ask God for a way to share His love with someone. If you can tell one person about the hope of Jesus and they tell another person, eventually you can bring a lot of change. Not everyone will believe what you say about Him. Not everyone will take it well. But if you can help one person change and that one can help someone else, you can make a huge impact. Just do what you can do, even if it seems very small—because it might just turn into something really big.
JUST BE YOURSELF
started, some people in my family had a television show called
It was on a small hunting network for serious outdoorsmen. It did not have the kind of ratings
has had, but it was a full television production, complete with a crew and everything.
Let me explain something about filming. When people are wearing microphones in order to film a show, the guys who do the sound can hear everything said, even casual conversations. When you are filming a TV show, you tend to forget you have on a microphone. If you need to go to the bathroom and forget to turn off your mic, they can even hear you peeing. Embarrassing.
After being around my family for a while, one of the men who worked on the sound noticed that our family did not use bad language or trash other people; we spoke with kindness and honesty. So he decided to really pay attention to everything we said to see if we would slip up. We never did, and that was very surprising to him.
One day he told Papaw Phil that he had been listening to see
if we would use cuss words or talk behind someone’s back. He also told Papaw Phil he never heard anything bad or mean-spirited come out of our mouths, and asked why.
Instead of giving him a quick answer, Papaw Phil said, “Do you have a few hours?”
Papaw Phil took the man to his house and spent the afternoon explaining a relationship with God to him, and the man became a Christian.
A lot of people come to Jesus because of what they
hear—maybe a Bible verse or a great story about something God has done in someone’s life. This man came to Christ because of what he did
hear—negativity, trash talk, complaining, or bad language. The Robertson men on the show were just being themselves. Because they were genuine, that man’s life was changed forever. That’s one way to change the world.
You may not have a television show or a sound guy who can listen to every word you say, but you have people around you at school, in your neighborhood, or in your family. Just be yourself and be genuine around them. You never know what a big difference that could make.
My dad came home one night with another great example of this. The president of a very large, successful company came to meet with Duck Commander about doing some business together. Some of the Duck Commander employees took this guy to lunch and they prayed before the meal, not thinking anything about it. Praying before meals is normal for us, but it was shocking to this guy.
This man is not a Christian. He later told my dad that he didn’t even know what it means to pray, but he could not stop thinking about it. He said he had never seen people do that at a business lunch, and it had been on his mind ever since. He shared the story with others and couldn’t stop talking about it or thinking about it.
The morning after the meeting at Duck Commander, he got up and felt the need to pray. But he did not know how; he didn’t have any idea what words to say. He told my dad that he got down on his knees and no words came out of his mouth, and then he just started crying. We are talking about a big powerful man—on his knees crying and then telling my dad about it. It’s amazing what God can do with just a little thing like praying before a meal!
The man then asked my dad to help him learn more about God, and now my dad is e-mailing him Bible verses to study so he can learn about God for himself. His life will be changed because of this. Remember this story next time you think there is nothing you can do to change the world. A simple prayer at the beginning of a meal is changing this man’s world and the world of those around him. Who knows how far-reaching this simple act will be?
LET’S MAKE THE WORLD HAPPIER
The world needs to change for lots of reasons. Just to name two of them—too many people are hungry and too many children are orphaned. Another reason the world needs to change is that it’s just so negative! That might not sound like as big of a crisis as world hunger or some of the other things that are happening, but it is still a problem. When I say “negative,” I mean the world has become discouraging, not encouraging; it’s often full of anger, not peace; there are tons of hate and not nearly enough love.
One reason the world has become so negative is social media. When my mom and dad were my age, social media had not even been invented. Even now, my papaw Phil acts like it doesn’t exist! He knows about it, but he does not get involved in it. I am pretty
sure our lives would be much easier if we didn’t have so many ways to post anything and everything for the whole world to see.
Parents and other adults talk a lot about how bad social media is, how hurtful it can be to people, and how they sometimes wish we did not have access to it. I have to agree with them. From my perspective, there are some horrible things on it, and some people use it to be really mean and offensive to others. Sometimes people let a tweet or a post on some site ruin their entire day, and I want to ask, “Why are you reading that stuff? Why don’t you choose to read something good?”
If I could say anything to grown-ups who are so upset about the things that happen on social media, I would say this: Everyone gets to choose who they follow, who they interact with, what they post, and what they read. A lot of the things you do not like can be blocked. If you are unhappy about social media’s influence on the young people around you, you can change your world and theirs by setting some standards for what they can and cannot look at.
Even though I can see the problems with social media, I also see a lot of good in it. In fact, I think we can use it to make a huge difference in the world if we make just a little effort. I have about one million followers on Twitter, and I do my best to use Twitter for good. I try to post encouraging messages, and I only follow people who also want to use social media in positive ways.
I get a lot of messages from fans, and I do not reply to or follow most of those people. But one day, I had an unusual opportunity with someone who tweeted me from Florida. This girl tweeted Cole first, then me. We did not respond. Then she tweeted me again with this: “I was wondering if you could help me change and be a better person.”
Most teenagers would not put something like that on social media because they would be embarrassed, so I could tell this girl
really wanted answers, and I decided to direct-message with her. Our conversation went something like this:
“What do you want to know?”
GIRL IN FLORIDA:
“Whoa, you noticed me.”
I then told her what I would do if I wanted to become a better person. I would start with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) and use that list as my instructions. It says that when the Holy Spirit of God lives in us, we will become people of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Pretty good list.
I WENT ON TO ASK HER:
“Are you involved in a church?”
GIRL IN FLORIDA:
“No. And I don’t have any friends who go to church.”
“Do you know what the gospel is?”
GIRL IN FLORIDA:
In a series of messages, I wrote to her: “God sent His Son, Jesus, to this earth through a virgin named Mary. That’s the hope we have. We don’t fear death because we know God has a perfect place He is preparing for us right now. To repent is to give all your sins to God and all your life to God. It’s like becoming a brand-new you.”
For me, sharing the gospel is the best possible way to use social media. If I can do it, you can do it too. I hope you will join me in refusing to look at negative, discouraging, disrespectful things on social
media. I also hope you will commit to only posting words and pictures that make people happy, not angry or hurt. If enough of us come together and do this, we can change the world.
NOW HERE’S A MAN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD
In chapter 3 I talked about my great-grandfather, Two-Papa’s father, whom I called Papaw Howard. But I want to share more about him here. He was one of the most amazing world changers I have ever heard of, and I am glad I had a chance to know him before he passed away. He truly believed he could change the world, and he did.
First of all, and most important, he was a man who loved God more than anything or anybody else. In 1967, he founded a Christian camp, called Camp Ch-Yo-Ca (a name that comes from the first two letters of the three words “Christian Youth Camp”). This camp is an amazing place where lots of teenagers have come to know Christ or grown in their relationship with Him, and I wrote about it in chapter 3. I am sure our family may never know how many lives have been changed or how many great ways people have made a difference in the world as a result of something that happened to them at that camp.
Papaw Howard was also a very smart entrepreneur. One of his first businesses was a jewelry store he started with his brother. He and his brother also went on to start a chain of discount stores—this was before “discount stores” were popular in almost every city and town in America, so he was definitely ahead of his time. He later started a warehouse club chain with my grandfather, which they sold to Walmart and is now called Sam’s Club. He also started
a publishing company. He wrote a lot of songs that are still sung today, and he put together several hymnals. The most popular hymnal was called
Songs of Faith and Praise
; that hymnal has sold more than three million copies. I am amazed when I hear about people who know about that hymnal. It’s everywhere, even in the most random places.
In addition to those things, he was a real estate developer; he also owned several restaurants and clothing stores. He was involved in the oil and gas industry, and on top of that he started a traveling singing group and had a music company.
Papaw Howard wanted people everywhere to know about Jesus, so he started a ministry with others in our church and called it World Radio. His dream was to put on radio programs all over the world, so people could hear the gospel preached even if there were no preachers in their area. The ministry still exists, spreading the love of God in native languages in over one hundred countries around the world.
My great-grandfather really cared about people. He did a lot to help people in our community, and in fact, Mamaw Kay got a job at Howard Brothers Discount Stores when things were so hard for her and Papaw Phil. I do not know whether or not he knew what a hard time she was having, but she has always appreciated the opportunity to work for him.
Papaw Howard’s love for people went beyond our hometown. He also founded a relief ministry to help people during natural disasters. As part of the work of this organization, Two-Papa drove a truck across Europe twice to deliver food to people in Poland when that country was under martial law in 1981–82. This organization provided relief on 9/11, when the World Trade Center was attacked, and after Hurricane Katrina, which hit our home state of Louisiana hard, as well as in many, many other places.
Every year at Christmastime, the kids in our family love to sing a funny old song with him. It’s called “Ticklish Reuben” and it tells the story of a guy who thinks everything tickles him. The chorus has lots of “ha-ha-ha”s in it, and when Papaw Howard got to that part of the song, he always ended up laughing so hard, and all of us laughed with him.
Talk about someone who made a difference! And people tell me he got a lot of ideas while he was fishing. Maybe more people need to spend time fishing if they want to think of ways to change the world.
SMILES THAT SPREAD HOPE
In 2013, our family and friends had a great experience when we got to meet the Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa. They are an amazing group of twenty-four young people who love God and spread hope and joy everywhere they go. They came to visit us in early July and stayed at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca for a few days and sang for our church. Then we had a big Fourth of July celebration in our backyard with these precious kids. We ate and played together, and they sang for us. Their smiles and awesome hugs were contagious; they seem to be the happiest people on earth.
While they were here, we were able to talk to the adults who were taking care of them while they traveled America singing and spreading God’s light, and they told us some of these children’s stories. Many of the children had lost either one or both of their parents. Two of the children’s parents died of AIDS while the choir was visiting America. And every single one of them lived on less in a year than we receive in a week here in America. Yet they were smiling!
Seeing their faith and love as they sang songs to God, such as “How Great Is Our God” and “We Worship You,” and thinking about the true meaning behind the words was life changing. These kids had faith that God is greater than all their problems, and you could see that faith in their smiles. Even though I had never met them before, their smiles changed my world!