Before I could remember, John F. Kennedy said a timeless phrase that is as simple as it is powerful: “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”
When you think of names like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Edison, and Napoleon Hill, the idea that one person can impact so many lives certainly starts to make sense.
But do you believe YOU can make a difference? For most people, the answer is no.
We sometimes feel like the most insignificant thread in the tapestry of life, and see these people as extraordinary, isolated cases. A false sense of humility prevents us from seeing that, as children of God, everyone on this earth has been equipped with the potential for greatness.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~ Edward Everett Hale
There is a group of 3rd graders at a school built and maintained by World Vision in the rural town of Enriquillo, that have set out to make an impact in their community by spreading awareness to prevent and eradicate violence against children. These little ones, who happen to be adorable, are passionate about their endeavor and firm in the belief that their efforts will touch lives in a positive way.
Led by a former sponsored child turned teacher, the anti-violence workshop helps children who are victims of bullying or abuse talk through problems, express themselves, and identify when to seek help, and to behave in a respectful and caring way to one another.
The children put on skits that move the audiences to tears; many children are still abused at home and they carry these behaviors to school by hitting their friends, playing violently, and being undisciplined in the classroom. But they can teach them about respect, peace, and love.
These sweet kids have a strong conviction that they can make a difference… and they try.
I’m usually not a big fan of this verb, because TRY can trick us right into self-sabotage.
However, when it comes to impacting someone, it’s actually very fitting.
I’ve been called a fool a few times, and that’s okay.
“You just gave him your hard-earned money and who knows how he’s going to spend it.” – she said of my stopping to help a begging homeless man.
“10% of EVERYTHING you make?! I won’t let no church people get richer at my expense.“ – he said of my practice and testimony of tithing.
“I will wait until I am absolutely sure that the planet actually benefit from this.” They said of their own desire to donate.
I get sad when I hear these kind of statements, not because I’m better than that, but because they’re a reflection of my own thoughts and judgment at different times, and in different situations.
We’ve become skeptical, and somewhat desensitized, because of fear. And the spirit of fear blocks love, clouds our mind, and leaves us powerless to make a decision, prone to give up.
The blunt truth is that I don’t know what people will do when I give to them directly, and I don’t sit on the board of the organizations I choose to give to. I also don’t manage my church’s budget or know exactly how my tithing and offerings are spent. And I’m okay with that.
[Tweet “Giving is not about outcomes, it’s about actions. #motivationformoms”]
Making a difference is not about what will come from our action, but about the action in itself.
“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” ~ Mathew 25:35-36
It’s not completely clear what happened because of the drink, the meat, the clothes, or the visits. It’s about the goods shared, the time invested, the loving care felt. What’s clear is that being compassionate, helpful, and charitable is about being Christlike.