“This is why you’re here, nothing else matters,” said Martin, joking that in heaven, no one will care that a person owned an expensive car.
The five-day event marks the 20th anniversary of the first FOCUS Conference. Martin noted that in two decades the event had grown from 20 students from Benedictine College to include more than 17,000 attendees, with thousands more watching online.
Despite the success and growth of the event, Martin insisted that “not much has changed” since that first conference, and that there was still an urgent need for Christian leaders in the world.
“The message is still ‘Christ is the key, and you’re the answer,’” he said. “The world is still waiting for Christ-like leaders to better shape society.”
These leaders need to have both moral authority and spiritual gravity, Martin said, giving an example of Mother Teresa confronting a pro-abortion politician about their stance during a Mass. Mother Teresa had moral authority, Martin said, which meant that her concerns and advice were taken seriously by others.
“There’s two types of people in this world: there’s thermometers, and there’s thermostats,” he told the conference hall. “When you walk into a room, does the room impact you, or do you impact the room?”
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Christ-like leaders must be “thermostats,” he explained, especially in a world where current culture tells people that their lives have no meaning or purpose, and that their existence is the result of “random chaos.”
In this culture, Martin said, Christians are called to announce that Christ “loved [each person] into existence” and that each of them will be “loved for eternity.”
“The world says you’re nothing, Christ says you’re almost everything.” He advised the crowd to “pursue truth so that you can live in love forever,” rather than pursuing earthly desires which left human nature wounded by sin.