Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin on May 17. It’s definitely worth reading or watching.
Tonight there are almost 8,000 students graduating from UT.
That great paragon of analytical rigor, Ask.Com, says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime.
That’s a lot of folks. But if every one of you changed the lives of just 10 people, and each one of those folks changed the lives of another 10 people—just 10—then in five generations, 125 years, the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people.
Eight-hundred million people—think of it: over twice the population of the United States. Go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world—eight billion people.
If you think it’s hard to change the lives of 10 people, change their lives forever, you’re wrong.
I thought about this as I spoke on 2 Timothy 2:2 last weekend:
…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Paul describes four generations of changed lives: him to Timothy to faithful men to others. It’s not complicated.
I got thinking: the Admiral’s math sounds overwhelming. But is it? I belong to the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptists in Canada. We have 500 churches. If just 16 people in every Fellowship church took Paul’s words seriously in 2 Timothy 2 and entrusted the gospel to just 10 people, who then entrusted the gospel to just 10 people, and so on, then in only five generations you have entrusted the gospel to 800 million people. Add another generation, and you’ve reached the whole world.
I think that’s what you call multiplication.
You can watch the Admiral’s message here: