How To Make A Difference
“She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial” (Mark 14:8).
There is a mindset today which paralyzes our good intentions and causes our heads to turn from that which is unpleasant and causes us discomfort. It’s the mentality that the needs of the world are so great, and our personal ability to make a difference is so tiny and inconsequential, that what we can do to change anything just doesn’t count. So, the end result is that we do nothing.
“Nothing” doesn’t change the darkness or make even the slightest difference in anyone’s life. The fact is, all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the least amount of life. OK, we can’t do everything, but we can do something, and the something we can do will make a difference to someone.
Two boys were walking on a beach after a high tide had carried thousands of starfish to the beach where they were gradually dying. One of the boys seeing the need, began flinging the starfish back into the water. “Hey,” said the other, “what you can do can’t really make a difference.” And the companion said, “It does to the ones I save!” That’s true of you as well.
You’ve heard me talk about the fact God has given you resources, talents and time, which can be used or squandered. If Jesus Christ is your Lord, He also wants to be Lord of these three commodities, which He has entrusted to you to use for Him–not to indulge upon yourself.
First, take inventory. What are you actually giving or doing for anyone besides yourself? Not much, right? OK, how about taking a tiny first step by making a commitment of what you presently have–not what you hope to have in the future. What you give isn’t as meaningful as what you keep for yourself. So, you can’t write a large check; then what can you do? And are you willing to do it?
Next, take inventory of needs that you see around you. Do you know anyone living in a retirement home alone without family? Do you even know where such a place is? Possibly it’s the one you drive by, noticing the old people in wheel chairs in the sun, or the old man with a walker who slowly walks down your sidewalk.
Check out your skills and talents as well. One of the greatest untapped sources of experience and knowledge in the Christian community is the vast number of people who are retired who spend their time playing bingo or moaning over their stock losses or cursing the darkness of our world instead of volunteering to make a difference somewhere.
Teach immigrants the language. Mentor someone who would like to benefit from your experience in the corporate world. Ask your pastor who in the church needs financial assistance or what young single mother could use an occasional afternoon of babysitting.
Volunteer for the baby step, the tiny contribution, the phone call or e-mail, or even a cheerful word.
One of the unsung heroes of our day is a mother of three who has made a tremendous difference in war-torn Bosnia. When Jane Weibe was asked to deliver a meal to Bosnian refugees near her home, who were recovering from wounds received in the war, she little realized how their pathetic eyes would speak volumes to her heart; seeing the need, she quickly responded, doing what she could.
Jesus commended a woman who anointed His feet with perfume, saying, “She did what she could” (Mark 14:8). And when you do that, it will be more than enough.