Monday, May 19, 2008

Making a Difference

Five O'clock Tea by Mary Cassatt
Five O'clock Tea


Here is the devotional I gave to our ladies Saturday. This is from the ladies' luncheon I attended with my mother-in-law in Georgia last month.

Making a Difference

We all know someone who has made a difference in our lives in one way or another. I remember a Sunday school teacher I had in about the 5th or 6th grade. She was dating her future husband, and my dad pointed out to me that I should watch her closely, because she was a lady, and I would do well to imitate her when I was grown up. She made a difference to one little girl, without even knowing it. I had another teacher, in 7th grade, who took me under her wing and befriended me outside of class. She took me to her home and to an art museum, because at that time, my mother was very sick. She made a difference. Another friend I met when Wes was in the Air Force. Up to that time, I had been a nervous wreck any time that Wes was away from me. Sue helped me learn to care for my children better, taught me how to make bread, and encouraged me to pick up some hobbies to help fill in the time when Wes was away. She made a tremendous difference in my life at that time, that still influences me today. How can we make a difference in the lives of others?

First, know your purpose. For every Christian, our purpose is to glorify God.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31
When everything we do is for God's glory, then we will be pointing others to Jesus Christ. Our motivation (to please God or to please ourselves) makes the difference in the things we do and how we influence others. Other verses - Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 9:10.

Next, know your principles. We get our principles for living from the Bible. God's Word is full of principles for living. One example is the list of behaviors found in Colossians 3:12-14, a list for how to treat others:
- Mercy
- Kindness
- Humbleness of mind
- Meekness
- Longsuffering
- Forbearing
- Forgiving
- Charity

Lists like this are all over the New Testament, especially in the shorter epistles, and they are so valuable in determining how we will respond in life's situations. Our former pastor taught us to decide how we were going to respond to something before we found ourselves in that situation. So, for example, if someone does something to offend me, according to the list above, I am to be forgiving. I make up my mind ahead of time that I will forgive the offender. If someone treats me unkindly, I have made up my mind that I will treat others with kindness, so I treat her kindly, regardless of how she treats me. This is taking God's Word and applying it in our lives. Memorize Scripture passages like this that speak to you. Let "the word of Christ dwell in you richly" so that it will be lived out through you.

Know your Power. Talk about empowerment of women! The power to make a difference to others is not within us, not something that we can muster up through positive thinking or motivational speakers. Jesus Christ within us is our Power. We have the power of the Holy Spirit within us to help us make a difference in the lives of others. He does this through our spiritual gifts. Ephesians 4:7 and 12 says that God gives "grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ . . . for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Our spiritual gifts are given to us to make a difference! Find your spiritual gift and use it to build up others.

The last two points are practical ways to implement the first three. First is to know your plan. Make a plan for making a difference. Write a "Making a Difference" list of ideas to help you think of things to do for others.
- Write a note
- Make a phone call
- Take food during a time of crisis
- Run errands
- Babysit
- Clean their house
- Teach her a new skill
- Give a small gift - or a large one
- Send flowers

There are far more things we can do; your own list might be far different than mine, depending upon your personality and abilities. Most of these things are little things that let someone know you're thinking of them, and some are actually things that are a huge help when they need it most. What is your spiritual gift or your natural talent? Use them to make a difference.

The last tip is to know your place. Not like being put in your place! Know where you can make a difference. First of all, you can make a difference to yourself by knowing for sure that you are saved, and then make sure you are doing everything you can to grow in Christ. If you're married, the next place you can make a difference is in your home, to your husband and/or children (depending on your life situation). In the case of our church here, where many of our ladies are single and work as nannies, they can make an important difference to the children they care for and for their parents. You can also make a difference in your church. Every member of a church is important, just as every part of your body is important. You can make a difference to your pastor and his wife, to your Sunday school teacher - or your class, if you are the teacher, and to the visitors who come into your church each week. Think what a difference can be made in people's lives if they meet a real Christian, who actually cares about them and where they will spend eternity and the type of life they live here on earth! If you work outside your home, you can make a difference to your co-workers and to your boss.

There are so many people to whom only you might be able to make a difference! Look for someone today; begin with those who live within your home and branch out from there. Make a difference to someone today.

11 comments:

  1. I scanned this and it looks great! I've marked it come back and read it when I have more time, thanks for sharing. (o:

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  2. EXCELLANT devotion Susan. I really appreciated it and it touched some areas I need to work on. Thanks for taking the time to type this up for us. It is appreciated.
    Deby

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  3. thank you for the devotional Susan,
    I touched home for me in a couple of places...I will take heed and remember that there are more things that I can do for someone else...
    thanks for the reminders

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  4. That was a very good devotion! You did a wonderful job. I pray it was received well.

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  5. This is good, Susan -- thanks for sharing it. I tend to be very closed in when I am around people and have to remind myself to reach out. It really doesn't take a lot of effort, led by the Spirit, to show some attention or say a kind word to others, but I have to remind myself to do it -- it doesn't come naturally.

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  6. I enjoyed your devotional Susan! Sometimes, I can tend to feel overwhelmed in my own little world instead of reaching out to someone else. Thank you for sharing this.

    Laura

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  7. The Lord nudges me to reach out all the time..and you are so right...you need to have a PLAN! An *aha* moment for me~thank you for a timely post!

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  8. Your post SO blessed me tonight. I really, really needed that encouragement and will be back to read it again. The Lord truly used you to bless me and I want to thank you!! I'm sure you blessed everyone that heard this.

    God bless you - Julie

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  9. That's a wonderful devotion, Susan!

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  10. Thank you for this wonderful devotional. I really needed this. I was so sadden last week and need to rework some areas of my life. Thanks for the reminder that God place me here for a purpose.

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  11. Susan...that is excellent!!! Thanks so much for sharing with us!!!

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Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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