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Can?I Make a Difference?

May 10, 2008
By The Rev. Walter


Pastor of East Elkins Charge of United Methodist Church

As I go about my daily routine, I sometimes wonder if I can make a difference. Then I remember the story of a man who was walking along a deserted beach one morning. As he walked, he noticed that the tide had receded, and as the beach area was beginning to get larger, that there were thousands of starfish left on the beach. He realized that if these starfish were not returned to the ocean they would surely perish. So he undertook the task of throwing the starfish back into the ocean. Then another person happened upon the beach and saw what the man was attempting to do. The newcomer looked up and down the beach and saw that there were thousands of these starfish. The newcomer walked up to the man as he continued to return the starfish back to the ocean and said, “There are so many of them, you will never make a difference.” The man just kept on about his task, and as he threw one back, he said, “I made a difference to that one.”

As we go about our lives, we should keep this thought in mind. In Acts 3, as the Apostles Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray one morning, they came across a man that had been crippled from birth asking for alms. Peter replied, “I don’t have any silver or gold. But, I will give to you what I have to give.” Peter took the beggar by the hand and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk.” What a difference was made in the life of that man. No matter how little we think we have to give, if we give it in the name of Jesus, it will make a difference. Acts 10:38 states that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: Who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Today, we have that same power that God gave Jesus through the Holy Spirit. As we go about our lives, we can do good just as Jesus did. In the gospel according to Luke Chapter 6, Jesus tells us to “love our enemies, do good to them which hate you. But love your enemies, do good and lend hoping for nothing again.” Can you make a difference? Try and see if you can.

There are people hurting everywhere we look. There are opportunities each day to make a difference in some person’s life. As our church chorus goes out to the homes for the elderly, each time we go to sing for these people —who for the most part have been taken there knowing that this is where they will spend the remainder of their lives — all you have to do is to look into their eyes and you will see that you made a difference, if only for a little while.

In Galatians and 2nd Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul tells us not to be weary in doing good, but at every opportunity that we have, to do good to all mankind. Compassion is a gift that we sometimes do not consider to be a gift. We are sometimes too busy in our hectic lifestyle to remember the story in the Gospel according to Luke Chapter 10 about the “Good Samaritan.” Sometimes we allow the way a person looks to dictate how they will be treated. We forget about compassion, we sometimes allow Satan to tell us that what we do does not matter, no one really cares if we do good or not. But when all is said and done, it matters, and you can make a difference. And so when I come to the end of my journey here on Earth, and as my friends and family pass by to view what remains, maybe, just maybe, someone can say, “You made a difference in my life.”

(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author’s church affiliation.)



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