Making a Difference
I came across a bulletin article recently that I had seen before years ago. The article, although short, contains an excellent thought that all Christians should be reminded of from time to time. I've expanded the article for your consideration today. I do not know the author of the article, though I have seen these thoughts attributed to Charles Schultz before (i.e., the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip).

Let's begin with a quiz. Please answer the following questions to the best of your ability. Jot down your answers on paper, if convenient.

  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  3. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  4. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actress.
  5. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

So, how did you do? Personally, I did horrible on this quiz, but I admit that I am not very well-rounded when it comes to keeping up with current events in our world or remembering the names of those who accomplish great things by worldly standards. I couldn't tell you any of the correct names to questions 2, 3, or 4. However, I somehow remembered all but two of the last ten World Series winners and was able to correctly name Bill Gates as the richest man in the world.

Anyway, the point is that very few of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers; they are the best in their fields. But, the applause dies and awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners, so to speak.

Let's now try another quiz. I bet you'll do better on this one.

  1. List three teachers who made a significant impact upon your life.
  2. Name five friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  3. Name ten people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  4. Think of three people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  5. List half a dozen people you enjoy spending time with.

This quiz is much easier, isn't it? I can answer all of these questions, and I expect that you can too. Some names I used more than once in answering these questions. Reflecting upon these great people who have had such a wonderful influence on my life makes me realize how blessed I am to know them.

I truly believe that I know some of the best people in this world, even though their names will never be used to answer the questions from the first quiz. This points out a tremendous lesson that can be gleaned from these quizzes. The people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards--they are the ones who care.

The people who care are the ones that have made a difference in my life, and they are the ones who will continue to make a difference. In Philippians 2:20, Paul wrote about Timothy, his son in the faith, and stated - "For I have no one like-minded who will sincerely care for your state." Timothy made a difference in the lives of many, but not because he was rich, good looking, or intelligent. He made a difference because he genuinely cared for people, and he expressed such through his words and actions. He loved their souls and, like Paul, helped many to find the way of life (and to remain faithful to it).

Friends, what about you? Are you making a long-term difference in this world, or are you focused on earthly achievements that will soon be forgotten? Are you making an impact for the Lord and His church? Are you grateful to those who have helped you--to those who genuinely care for you? Have you praised them lately, as Paul did Timothy? Think on these things.