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“But I am only one”

You can make a difference!

This short article by Greg Laurie, used by kind permission, reminds us that we are unique, and may touch lives in ways we cannot imagine.

I have heard it said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. What I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.”

One godly man or woman can make a dramatic difference, even in the darkest of circumstances. Jesus put it this way:

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. you are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:13 NLT)

Our Lord is telling us that we, like salt, should make a difference in the situations we are in. Just as a little salt can either improve or worsen the flavor of something, a little influence can go a long way. You might be the only Christian in your family … or the only Christian in your workplace … or the only Christian in your classroom … or the only Christian in your neighborhood. In fact, you may be trying to get out of an uncomfortable situation in which you find yourself. But you may have been put there by the Lord to be an influence and, in a godly way, to move people in the right direction. God can do a lot with a little.

We have heard of people like Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, D. L. Moody, the great evangelist of his time, and of course, Billy Graham. But have you ever heard of Edward Kimball or Henrietta Mears?

Without Edward Kimball, there never would have been a D. L. Moody. Kimball was a shoe salesman. he worked at a shoe store in Chicago and felt led by the Lord to share the gospel with young Dwight, a fellow salesman. Dwight responded to the message, gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and ultimately went on to be the greatest evangelist of his generation. It was because of Edward Kimball’s faithfulness to share the gospel that the Lord reached D. L. Moody, who in turn reached millions.

What about Henrietta Mears? In 1928 she was called to teach a Sunday School class at the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood. Under her direction, the class grew from 400 to 4,000. She later went on to found Gospel Light Publishing and Forest Home Christian Conference Center in Southern California. Of the people she influenced, 400 went into full-time Christian service. Among them were Bill Bright and Billy Graham.

It is the power of one. Our lives can make a difference. In Ezekiel 22:30 God says, “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one” (NLT). God is looking for that one who can make his or her mark.

You may be the only Christian whom some people will ever know. the fact is that God can do a lot with a little. If you don’t believe me, just ask that boy who was willing to share his lunch one day and saw Jesus feed 5,000 people, plus women and children, with his little meal. Or spend some time in the Book of Exodus, where you’ll find the story of one man who lived such a godly life that, for all practical purposes, he kept two-and-a-half million people from turning to full-tilt idolatry. His name was Moses.

God is just looking for one – someone like you – someone like me. Will you be that one person? We all would love to be a Billy Graham, D. L. Moody, or Bill Bright. Maybe you will be. But would you be willing to at least be an Edward Kimball or a Henrietta Mears? Would you be willing to do what you can, where you are, with the influence that God has given you? Never underestimate the power of one.

One or two?

Joe McKeever has written on the same subject: “I once heard someone say, ‘My prayer doesn’t count much. I'm only one person.’ I said, ‘Do you know anyone who is ‘two’?’ ‘I’m only one person' is the one excuse no citizen of planet Earth can use to get out of anything, since we are all ‘ones’ and no one is two, with the possible exception of those Siamese twins we encounter on television occasionally, and even they seem to go out of their way to assure us that while they share some of the same body parts, they are two ones, and not a two.”

The starfish thrower

This short story now exists in hundreds of variations such as that below, based on one originally written by Loren Eisely and first published by Readers Digest in 1991. It illustrates the same principle in 1 Cor. 4-6: you are unique, and even apparently small things you do are of eternal significance.

I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise to walk by the ocean’s edge and greet the new day. As I moved through the misty dawn, I focused on a faint, faraway movement. I saw a boy, bending and reaching and waving his arms – dancing on the beach, no doubt in celebration of the perfect day soon to begin.

As I approached, I sadly realized that he was not dancing, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night's tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea. I asked the boy the purpose of the effort. “The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves,” he replied. “When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back to the sea.”

I looked at the vast expanse of beach, stretching in both directions. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. the hopelessness of the boys's plan became clear to me and I pointed out, “But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference.”

He paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said, “I made a difference to that one.”

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