What does the world need more than anything else? It’s a compelling question, and depending on one’s culture, religion, and background, the answer may vary. Jason Clay, senior vice president for World Wildlife, argued in an essay for the New York Times that what the world needs most is education. “We must be on a relentless journey toward self-betterment,” he argues. “We must ask questions of ourselves and the people and institutions around us, so as to increase our knowledge as a society.” With this increase in knowledge, according to Clay, “humanity will find within itself an ability to develop peacefully and prosperously at a pace we have never before experienced.”1
Others have famously argued—through song more frequently than the written word—that love is what the world most needs. Hal David and Burt Bacharach told us in 1965, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” The Beatles told us in 1967, “All you need is love.” If we just loved one another, the notion goes, all would be well. The world would be made right.
The problem is, neither of these solutions actually works. The Western world in the early nineteenth century, perhaps more than any other culture in history, believed education was what the world needed most. It only took a couple of world wars for sensible people to realize this wouldn’t do the trick. The reality of sinful humanity is that we can turn knowledge into a weapon just like anything else, and anyway, there will always be more to learn. In the words of Ecclesiastes, “as knowledge increases, grief increases” (1:18).
What about love? Can love do what knowledge cannot? In theory, this idea is more appealing to us. But in practice, this won’t get the job done either. The problem is, different people love different things, and even within each person, our loves contradict one another.
I, for example, being a true Texan, love Tex-Mex. And you can’t have good Tex-Mex without queso. I love queso. But I also love my family. I love my wife, my kids, and my friends. The reality is, at some point, these loves will contradict one another! If I eat queso at lunch and dinner every day, I’m going to have some seriously clogged arteries, and the time I get to spend with my loved ones will be cut short. I have to choose between my loves. We all do.
So “love, sweet love,” apparently, is not “all you need.” What, then, does the world need most?
The World Needs Difference Makers
The thing your neighborhood, your city, your country, and the world needs most is difference makers. The world needs millions and millions of people who say together:
I was made for more than watching. I have a history-changing, difference-making, life-giving, Spirit-empowered legacy to leave. Jesus, I ask you to work deeply in me and clearly through me as I pray, give, and go in your love. I am a difference maker. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Gregg Matte, Difference Makers: How to Live a Life of Impact and Purpose (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2019).
Want to fill your church with Difference Makers? It will take more than reading one article. I’d recommend you have every group in your church study this excellent book.
We have just completed a Bible study to guide your group into meditating on and applying these truths. The Difference Makers is our Bible Study based on Greg Matte’s book Difference Makers. It consists of 8 lessons with ready-to-use questions suitable for groups. It can be purchased on Amazon and is also available as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service.