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  • From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove

What does God say about making a difference?

Merriam-Webster defines making a difference as: “to cause a change; to be important in some way; to do something that is important; to do something that helps people or makes the world a better place.” This world views everything in terms of this life. God’s view is eternal and so, He would change this definition to: “to do something that helps make eternity a better place.” And, of course, He would say eternity would be better if everyone chose to be part of it, Deut 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

Abraham Maslow correctly identified a Godly principle, when he said, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” God calls all of us to choose eternity, but what does He call us to do individually? He asks us to use the special gifts He has given us to lead people to Him and the eternal family He is creating, 1 Pet 4:10, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” When Beethoven first sat down at a piano, he must have realized he had been graced with a very special gift and we can see that same gift today by watching Evan Le play the piano at age 4: God calls each of us to find our gift and to use it for the greater good He has planned. It is a choice and we each must face the reality that we were created with a God-given purpose, a purpose that we are uniquely qualified to complete.

God has invited everyone to eternity. He is always willing to go to great lengths to give every last one of us the opportunity to be there, Mk 14:4, 7, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?...I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” When we use our gifts to complete our parts in His plan, we will be giving every last one of those lost sheep among us every opportunity of finding eternity, Matt 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This is Jesus’ prayer for all of humanity.

We all have different gifts, however, all of them can be used to make a difference, Rom 12:6, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” It might be the kindness and compassion we give to those who are hurting, it might be the money we give that helps feed those who are hungry, it might be the time we give to someone who is lonely, or it might be the Truth we share with someone who is in doubt. We all have a part to play; we can all make a difference. Some of us had given up on life before finding Jesus, then we were led to God’s will for our lives, Matt 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Thus, we became members of His eternal family.

But, how can we do these things when we feel so unworthy? Jesus has given us the Holy Ghost to lead us; we need not feel we are unworthy, for when we need words, He will provide them, Jn 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” and Lk 12:11-12, “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” Our faith will open the door to the Holy Spirit and His help will prepare the way for our service, no matter what gifts we have been given.

Just as John prepared the way for Jesus, Mk 1:7-8, “And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” Jesus has prepared the way for us, Acts 1:5, 8, “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

When we feel nervous about using the gifts God has given us to show people His love, we need only remember what Jesus did when He felt anxious, Lk 22:42-44, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” If God has work for us to do, He will always provide a way for us to complete it. All we have to do is have faith, pray when doubt enters and press forward to complete the work He has set before us, for all things are possible with God, Matt 17:20, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

There will be times when we think God is asking us to do something when He is not. How will we know the difference? If we stay in His love, always treating others with the love He shows to all, we will see His work completed. As we go about doing His work, if we feel we are unable to complete the work, we must lay it down. We might just need a different perspective, or, it might be that God has another who will come along, pick it up and finish it. Sometimes, God is not the one calling us to do the work. So, if we feel ourselves treating others in a fashion that does not demonstrate His love, we can know for sure it is not God calling us. The devil is always trying to fool us, but God has told us His way will prosper no matter what the devil is doing, Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God can take the evil the devil does and turn it into good, as He did for Joseph, Gen 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

Patiently waiting, when that is needed; persistently working, when that is called for; always staying within His will for both our behavior and good deeds, will lead to our making a difference in this life, and the next.

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