(April 15, 2008)

When I was a teen I read a story in a magazine about someone who had done something to help disadvantaged people. I don’t remember the details of the story but I clearly remember thinking to myself how I would like to do something to make a difference. Here I was, a shy (or depressed) young girl with social phobia, afraid to speak up in class, but wanting one day to do something really special to help others.

On Sunday our pastor talked about how this was true for many of us when we were in our teens and early twenties. Before we became consumed with responsibilities we wanted to make the world a better place. Yet so many of us get distracted as we get older. We need to make an income and we work to make the best income we can so that we can afford the many things we need. …And then we work a little harder so that we can afford luxuries as well. Earning money is a good thing, yet – in the pastor’s words: “What most squeezes us into the world’s mold is materialism. Our materialistic drive is really what keeps us from being serviceable to God. We serve ourselves; we serve a materialistic God.”

“Live with an attitude of reverence and awe for the life that’s been given to you. Every day is a gift from God. God has placed a value on our life. Jesus paid for our lives by his work on the cross.” Every once in a while we need to stand back and look at this life God gave us and placed so much value on. How much of what we do really matters in the final analysis? We need to set the course of our lives with the final destination in mind. Is it going to be what will earn us most money? Or are we going to live our lives so that we can make a difference?

In closing he said, “The most significant thing you can do is to build into the lives of others.” This is something every one of us can do. Peter echoes Jesus’ call to love each other: “…love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1Peter 1:22) This is a love that will feel others’ joys as well as their pain. We can make a difference in this world and it doesn’t always have to be anything grand. We can make a difference in the lives of the individuals whose lives we touch…one person at a time.

And if we do so we will find ourselves blessed.