Thursday, November 14, 2013

Can One Person Make A Difference In Our World?

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In a highly populated world, it's easy to underestimate the significance of one person.

The problems are so big and so many; how could I possibly make a difference?

Edward Everett Hale responded this way:

"I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything;
but I can do something;
and because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

As our culture careens out of control--morally, fiscally, politically; too many are suggesting it's too far gone to make a difference. And what can I do? I'm only one person.

Let me tell you what Tim Donnelly is doing in California--and lets talk about what you and I can do.

Tim Donnelly is a California State Assemblyman. He says California is broken.

He's right.

He says California is being swallowed up by an ever expanding government.

He's right.

He says more people are moving out of California than moving in.

He's right.

He says he is running for governor in 2014.


Can he win? Who knows?

Donnelly, a former Minuteman border patrol leader, is well known and is well loved and supported by conservatives.

When he announced, the pundits laughed.

However, the Los Angeles Times isn't taking any chances. They are not laughing. Perhaps smirking, as they have already pounced on his 2-minute introductory video. 

The Times is calling it "apocalyptic" because he summarizes how California is broken. He calls, his video "A Return To Greatness."

The Times describes it as "eye popping." He puts his family, including his native American wife, on display in the video and tells the viewer he believes he can fix California.

And why does he think he can beat the establishment---Sarah Palin calls them the "elite ruling class," of either party?

Well, he says, millions of voters didn't vote last election because the Republican Party ran their "model" candidate---"moderate" Meg Whitman and millions of conservatives simply didn't vote for either candidate.

People with influence are stepping up to publicly support him.

Whitman's run for governor was similar to that of Rob McKenna's in Washington state. Same results. It wasn't even close, yet both were the "perfect" moderate GOP candidate.

My point is not to endorse or even promote Tim Donnelly. I don't know him.

My point is to focus attention on the importance of taking action. Doing something out of conviction.

Discovering what God may lead you to do.

We are great on theory. We have a theory for everything, because there is no risk in having a theory---especially if you keep it to yourself. Or merely discuss it among a few friends. Or in a classroom.

Only when we move from the safe harbor of theory to the risky world of reality do we actually make a difference. And yes, there is risk.

Some say, what difference does it make whether or not I get involved, the world is coming to an end---Jesus is coming soon.

Martin Luther said, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."

History is full of accounts of single individuals who have made a difference---planted their apple tree. Think of the military battles that have turned on the axis of one person's actions.

Think of how Michelangelo and da Vinci--Brahms and Beethoven influenced the culture by using their God-given gifts.

And how scientists, inventors, explorers and tech geeks have changed the world. Look at what has come just from the Puget Sound area--Boeing, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Amazon,--the list goes on and on.

The gospel and the Kingdom of God has been advanced by Augustine, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon, Moody, Graham and a million other people who acted out of conviction. And obedience to God.

And look at some of the occasions when 1 person's vote made all the difference:

  • In 1654, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England;
  • In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed;
  • In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German;
  • In 1839, one vote elected Marcus Morton governor of Massachusetts;
  • In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the union;
  • In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
  • In 1875, one vote changed France form a monarchy to a republic;
  • In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the united States presidency;
  • In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler control of the Nazi party;
  • In 1941, one vote saved the Selective Service System just 12 weeks before Pearl Harbor!

There is only one you. You're the only person with your exact heritage, your precise series of events in your life to date. This is not chance or accident.

You're the only one with your particular convictions linked to your particular skills, your appearance, your touch, your voice, your style, your surroundings, your sphere of influence.

You are "one," but you are the only one God has made exactly like you.

We know the names of those who have stood publicly for various causes and made a difference; but when I review history---biblical and secular, I find most often it was individual men and women who stood for what was right, moved past theory, took risks and changed their world, regardless its size---or at least a part of it.

From Genesis to Revelation, I see imperfect, ordinary individuals, who were used, sometimes in extra-ordinary ways to make a difference.

Their actions have often helped shape history.

Can one person make a difference in our world?

Yes. When we begin to believe we can and act on that belief, we will be willing to risk. We will no longer care so much about covering our backsides or what people may think of our stand. We will take action as God leads us.

Ultimately, we don't answer to our peers---we answer to God.

The greatest model is Jesus Christ Himself. He did not wring his hands in despair, although he wept over the city. He acted. He risked. He laid His own life down for our sins.

He was not consumed with whether people would misunderstand His actions, nor whether all would accept His sacrifice. He was consumed with doing the right thing at the right time. In God the Father's way.

How might God lead you? Would you be willing to act on that leading.

Debbie Macomber is an author who has sold more than 100 million books. (100,000,000). She was born and raised in Yakima and lives in Port Orchard, WA., most of the year.

Debbie is a Christian. She is dyslexic and has only a high school education, but felt led and motivated to become a writer. For 5 years she, as a stay at home mom of four children, sat in front of her typewriter at the kitchen table and wrote. No one wanted her manuscripts. She received rejection after rejection after rejection. Hundreds of rejections.

Then one was finally accepted.

In her book, "One Single Act: Discovering The Power of Generosity," she writes:

Do all you can-
By all means you can-
In all the ways you can-
In all the places you can-
As long as you can-

The question is really not can one person make a difference. It is "will" I as an individual do all I can for as long as I can for eternal purposes?

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.