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What Difference Can YOU Make?
What difference do YOU make?
I believe that many Christians think they are insignificant and, no matter what they do, it really doesnít matter because they think it wonít make a difference. Well, this is completely wrong because every single person has the power to make a difference for Godís kingdom and in the lives of others. Far too many underestimate the difference they could make if they would only apply themselves and realize that it doesnít take some great feat to make a difference.
The Bible is full of examples of those who thought they were insignificant at first, but they soon realized that with God on their side they could make a difference.
I. Now some might think that if you donít something grand then it will not matter. Oh, but it does.
2 Kings 5:1-4: ďNow Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman's wife. Then she said to her mistress, "If only my master were with the prophet (Elisha) who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy." And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, "Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel."
Many times we focus in on Naaman in this event because he is the main focus. However, we need to understand that Naamanís leprosy would have never been washed away if had not been for this one little unnamed Hebrew girl. If she had kept silent on this matter, Naaman would have never known that it was possible for his leprosy to be healed. While all this little girl did was give the information, which may seem insignificant it is not because her words is what brought these events about.
This teaches us that it doesnít matter if you do something big or small, everything you do counts, and sometimes the big things cannot be done until the small things are done first. So, donít think for a moment that small things are insignificant, because they are not.
Another example of this comes from the New Testament when Paul had been arrested and some men took an oath to kill Paul. They were going trick the commander into bringing Paul out and they were going to ambush him.
Acts 23:16-22: ďSo when Paul's sister's son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, "Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him." So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, "Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you." Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside and asked privately, "What is it that you have to tell me?" And he said, "The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. "But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you." So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, "Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me."
Paulís unnamed nephew happened to be in the right place at the right time and when he overheard this plot, he told Paul about it and, then, the commander. This young man did not fight a battle or become a great leader to make a big difference. He simply passed on information and that information made the difference between life and death.
His actions that day kept Paul from dying and what he did was part of Godís providence because God still had plans for Paul and those plans would have been cut short if it had not been for this young man. So, just because something may be easy to do, it doesnít it take away from the difference it can make.
II. Another important lesson we must learn is that we should not look at someone and prejudge them by their appearance and think that they will never amount to anything. A great example of this comes from Davidís time. God had instructed Samuel to go to Jesseís house so he could anoint one his sons to be the next king after Saul.
In 1 Samuel 16:6-13, the Bible states: ďSo it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab (e-lie-ab) and said, "Surely the LORD's anointed is before Him." But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all the young men here?" Then he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here." So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!" Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.Ē
If it had been up to Samuel, he would have chosen Eliab (e-lie-ab) because he was so tall and he looked like a strong man. This is what many people do today because they like prejudge people based on the appearance. If they are fat, then they must be lazy. If they are small, they must be weak. If they are dressed poorly and smell, they must be uneducated and must be free loaders and the list could go on and on.
As God said, ďHe doesnít look at the outer appearance, He looks at the heartĒ. While we cannot see as God sees, we must learn to stop prejudging people by their appearance. Instead, we need to get to know them first, then we can know what kind of person they really are. David was a young good looking boy, and he wasnít what you would think of as being a strong leader like a king, but God knew what his potential was and that is why he was anointed instead of Eliab (e-lie-ab). We know that God was right because David showed his bravery over and over again and he made a huge impact for Godís kingdom and he inspired those around him. So donít allow someoneís appearance to fool you because you never know what great things God has in store for them.
III. We should not think that someone who has lived a life of sin cannot make a difference in other peoples life. A great example of this comes from the life of Paul. Paul was a tyrant when it came to Christianity because he wanted stop it, and many Christians were thrown into prison and even put to death because of Paul. But, Jesus had plan for Paul and when Paul was converted to Christianity, many Christians would have nothing to do with Paul because they thought he was just pulling a fast one. They certainly didnít think it would be possible for a man like this to embrace Christianity.
However, we know that once Paul was converted, he became one of the hardest working apostles and made a huge difference in the growth of the church and his inspired writings make up a good portion of the New Testament. Paulís example proves that we should not prejudge someone based on their past actions because like Paul, they can change and make a big difference for Godís kingdom and in lives of others. I think sometimes that we forget the life we lived before we became Christians. We know that we changed our lives, and we should not think that others could not change their lives as well. The question this morning is what difference can you make? What influence can you have for the cause of Christ and the lives of others? Do not underestimate your abilities with Godís help! Remember the small things must be done first before the big ones can be accomplished. What difference can you make?
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