Making a Difference
By DANNY MINTON
I’ll turn three-quarters of a century old in a couple of weeks. I would say seventy-five but saying three-quarters of a century makes me seem more distinguished! Over fifty of these seventy-five years revolved around “church work”: Teacher, deacon, elder, youth minister, children’s minister, education minister, pulpit minister, church administrator, high school Bible teacher, and Christian school director. One of the questions many of us ask moving on in our years centers around, “Have I made a difference?” Anyone whose life centers around helping people wants to know the answer to that simple question. So, like so many others, I ponder the question, “Have I made a difference in the life of someone in the last three-quarter century?”
We often think to make a difference, we must do some extravagant project or become noticed by scores of people. However, making a difference does not only exist in affecting the masses. It means just as much if only one person finds strength or encouragement in what we say or do.
Last month as I slowly pushed my basket through Sam’s Club, I passed a lady moving in the opposite direction. She looked at me and asked, “Are you, Mr. Minton?” I responded, “Yes, I am,” not recognizing her or knowing how she knew me. She said she read my posts on the Spirit of Abilene blog and liked them very much. I don’t know who she was, but if she reads this one, “Thank You.” I get other positive comments, some from people I know and others from unknown readers. It helps me realize that maybe I’m making a difference, one person at a time. A few years back, a young lady came to me at church services and said, “I just wanted to thank you.” I didn’t recognize her, but she had entered my office several years before in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. We talked, and I encouraged her on some things to do. Our strategy had helped her, and years later, she remembered that conversation and how it had helped her move forward. Again, I had helped make a difference.
But listen, this article isn’t just about me; it’s about you and the people you touch. Everyone can make a difference in the life of someone else. Whether we realize it or not, we are all making a difference in the lives of others. The goal becomes to consciously make it a point to positively influence people we meet. By the way we talk and act, we affect those around us. We can make a difference in the lives of people by just being kind. We can encourage with a card, letter, or phone call. We can acknowledge their abilities to others. We often don’t realize that we may make a difference in the lives of people we have never known or met.
Jesus shows us the example of making a difference one person at a time. He did reach the masses, but there were many times where He made a difference, one person at a time. There was a time a group of lepers called out to be healed. Jesus healed them, but only one came back to thank Him. He made a difference in that man’s life. Another time he was pushing through a crowd when He felt someone touch Him. It was a woman with a bleeding disease. In the middle of the crowd, he made a difference in one person’s life. A little guy watching Him from a tree, a woman with a jar of oil wiping his feet, a woman drawing water at a well, a soldier whose son was dying, and a thief hanging on the cross were times when Jesus made a difference one person at a time.
So back to the questions, “Have I made a difference?” “Are you making a difference?”
The answer is yes. We may not know how, when, or where, but when we live our lives seeking to do good, we are making a difference in the lives of others. No matter our position in life, we are all in a place to make a difference, one person at a time. Someday someone may stop you in the store or come to you after a church service and thank you for making a difference in their life.
Make a difference in someone’s life today by being Jesus to them.
Danny Minton is an Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ