We have the opportunity to make a difference each and every day. The words – “make a difference” are often overused and ignored. Since the phrase is such a broad statement, we skim right over it. We think of making a difference in big ways and perceive ourselves to be too inadequate, too busy and too unconnected to be able to really make a difference.
For many years, I worked with middle school students. One of the things that I love most about this age group is that they will rally around a cause. When they learn about Africa and wells needed, they immediately want to help and find a way to do so. If someone they know is suffering from cancer or another disease, they want to help and find a way to do so. I currently know a young man who decided that his homeless friend needed a home, so he has set out to raise the money to buy the man a home! (You can find information about how to help him on his Facebook page – Pickles With A Purpose). Sometimes I feel that we as adults could take a few lessons from the young. I heard Andy Stanley say recently that when someone has an idea, we should in response say, "Wow!" instead of "How?" I am greatly encouraged by Luke and am "Wowed" that he has taken this on and is working toward providing a home for his friend!
I want to zoom in even closer though, to look at even smaller things that can make a difference - things that we are all capable of doing. My father is 87 and doesn’t get out much. He does get to the end of the driveway to get his mail, and one day while doing so, he was surprised and delighted by the chalk message the children in the neighborhood had left for him. He wanted to make sure that he took a picture so that he could show his friends this surprise act of kindness.
There is a woman from my dad's church that comes and visits with him weekly just to sit and watch golf on television. Having company in the house makes his day so much more enjoyable! Another thing that makes a difference to him is periodically receiving cards in the mail from friends who just want to send a note to encourage him; he tells me how much these mean to him. These small acts of kindness make a huge difference in his daily life.
How do you impact others? If you don’t have time or connections to make a difference globally, then look around today to see whom you might encourage with kindness. You have the opportunity to make the day better for everyone that you come in contact with through your words and actions. It only takes a moment to smile and really listen to that co-worker, the cashier at the grocery store, your friends and/or your spouse and children. Do the words you speak leave people glad that they saw you today, or wishing they had not run into you? Think about those around you that might need encouragement; you might give them a call or send a card.
I always have good intentions but sometimes am weak in follow-through. It helps me to have a visual reminder of the important things that I want to do. You might want to tape a note to your mirror, your desk or in your car to remind you to be on the lookout for those to whom you can make a difference each day. Those visual reminders may help us choose our words and actions with more intent. What kind of difference will you make in someone's life today?