I’m asking myself, “Am I Making a Real Difference?”
Have you ever watched “It’s a Wonderful Life”? It’s one of my favorite movies; one that I never miss during the Christmas season. In case you don’t know… The story is a heartwarming look at the difference George Bailey makes in the lives of his family, friends, and community. When he wishes he’d never been born the movie illustrates how different life would be without him.
The fourth Saturday in October was designated as “Make a Difference Day” in 1992 by USA Weekend magazine and by Points of Light. I remember discussing it with the kiddos I taught and encouraging them to do something kind for someone on that day. Although it’s no longer promoted by these organizations, it’s still being observed by many. I found out that there are some organizations that still promote it such the Kiwanis Club.
It’s the largest national day of community service to encourage volunteerism. Oh, how it’s sorely needed today.
I’ve always loved the idea of this day and I understand that it gives people an incentive to do good for others and their community. Volunteers pick up trash, help their neighbors, mentor youth, spread kindness and donate to charity.
It’s estimated that 25- 29% of Americans volunteer their time in some capacity.
While I believe that’s a good thing, I also believe that we can make a difference on a daily basis.
I love this quote by John Wesley:
Do all the good you can
In all the ways you can,
To all the souls you can,
In every place you can,
At all the times you can,
With all the zeal you can,
As long as you ever can.
There are many groups of people who can and do make a difference daily.
Parents, grandparents, teachers, medical personnel, firefighters, police officers, servers in restaurants, people affiliated with community organizations, service organizations, charities, and churches all make a difference in their community and the lives of others.
I’m an idealist, an optimist. I love to do things that make a difference like recycling, volunteering my time and do so weekly, especially with activities focused on children. I believe even small things can add up to make a big difference.
This past week I taught in an after-school Gospel club and helped teach sewing to some girls in 4H. Today I picked up some trash along the road as I ran and threw it in a garbage can left at the end of a driveway. I attended a meeting for Operation Christmas Child, an organization that ministers to children around the world.
I could pat myself on the back and think that I “did good” this week. BUT I’m not telling you this to toot my own horn… I’m telling you this to point out an opportunity that I MISSED to do the BEST Work.
I went to the store after we returned home. I chose to go through a checkout stand manned by a cashier instead of the self-checkout I normally choose. When the woman was checking me out, we communicated about items on the conveyor belt: my reusable shopping bag (most ALWAYS a novelty to them), a pineapple, and a smoke detector that was priced differently than the shelf tag indicated… BUT I didn’t say anything to her about the Lord. I’m being convicted that I missed an opportunity to do that after I felt the nudge to go to that cashier.
When I went to my first mission trip to Haiti a very wise leader told us that what we did for the people we ministered to would make a difference but the biggest difference we could make was into introduce them to Jesus Christ. You can go on a mission trip but you don’t have to.
Living a life on mission every day using every opportunity to share Christ with others is something each Believer can take advantage of daily. It’s something I want to be more intentional about doing on a daily basis. That’s really making a difference in people’s lives… not a brief, fleeting difference but an Eternal One.
PS: Even though I LOVE “It’s a Wonderful Life” that part about people who go to Heaven becoming angels and getting our wings by doing good has become an annoying popular misconception. (Believers will NOT get wings. We will not be angels. We will be awarded crowns that we will present to Christ in worship. Revelation 4:10-11)