Stories of people making a difference in the lives of others are so inspirational. They are everywhere – television shows, news stories and radio spots all about these amazing people. They tell of millionaires who give money to those in need, weight loss coaches training people to lose incredible amounts of weight and others who save lives, remodel homes for returning soldiers…so many who change lives through their actions and deeds. Every time I encounter one of these stories I am touched and motivated to go out and do the same.
But then I stop short.
I can’t make that kind of difference!
I’m not rich, I don’t have special skills to teach others about losing weight or overcoming other obstacles in their lives, and I don’t have the vacation time or the resources to travel somewhere to assist with disaster relief. I could never be like one of those people.
It can be easy to stop there, believing that since I may never be able to impact the world with my difference I am unimportant and shouldn’t even try.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
We may not ever be in the news for the difference we make. But the reality is that we don’t always know the difference we are making in someone’s life when we allow God to reach through us. When we dismiss our abilities and the way the Holy Spirit can work in our lives because we don’t think they are important enough we are tying God’s hands and hindering Him from blessing people through us. Whatever gifts we are given God can and will use when we release them to Him.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 NIV
And for those of you who are convinced that you don’t have gifts that God can use? Let me ask you a few questions…
1. Can you pray? Our prayers have more impact than we will ever know, at least this side of Heaven. When we offer a prayer for a friend, family member, or even a stranger we release the power of God through the Holy Spirit to work in their life. Your prayer may be the lifeline for someone who feel they have no strength to go on.
In addition to praying for family, friends and other known needs I have formed a habit of praying when I hear a siren. I don’t always know if the siren comes from a police car, fire truck or ambulance but I pray for the people who are helping, and the people being helped. Truly someone’s life may be saved because of your prayer.
2. Can you smile? I work in a medical office at the front desk. I spend most of my day answering the phone and checking in patients. It’s not the kind of job where I’m changing lives or making life-altering decisions that impact others and it is easy to slip into the attitude of thinking my role is unimportant. But that thinking would be wrong. I can smile. I can be kind to those I encounter. This is not a small thing.
Think about the difference when you go to a store, medical office, etc. and the person at the counter is crabby, just doing enough to get through the day but certainly not happy about it. Now think of the last time the person in this position smiled at you and was pleasant throughout your interaction. What kind of difference did that make in your day? We in turn can make this difference for someone else.
3. Can you write/type? The art of letter/note writing is fading fast. It is fun to get an encouraging note via “snail mail” as too often the only thing we find in the mailbox is bills. But whether you handwrite a note or use e-mail or Facebook to deliver your message, a few minutes to say, “hi” and let someone know you are thinking of and praying for them can lift their day and make a difference.
Some days we are blessed by being told of the difference we are making in our little corner of the world. But even when we aren’t told we need to trust that God is at work in us and through us when we allow Him. The ultimate reward will be when we stand before Him one day and hear:
‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! Matthew 25:21 NIV
blessings and peace to you as you make a difference today!