We come to the sixth in the series ‘People who command attention.’ A casual observation of life tells us that one of the reasons why individuals and groups gain attention (we are not talking about notoriety but positive attention), is that they make a significant and lasting difference.
The bible shows us that God has made each one of us and placed us here on planet earth so that we might live lives that are truly purposeful. If we catch that vision and align ourselves with God we will doubtless command attention.
Each of us has been endowed with gifts, talents, abilities and aptitudes. The primary purpose of those gifts is not simply for us to use them to serve our selfish ends, but rather to deploy them as a means of blessing others or making a difference in other people’s lives.
It does not take much to make a difference. Some of us think that we need to make a major discovery, cross the seven seas, go the moon, and do all sorts of newsworthy things. On the contrary, making a difference can be as simple as helping a needy person across the road; doing some shopping for an elderly person; helping in a home with those who are physically or emotionally challenged, or providing voluntary support for people in our community who are in the winter of their years. If we look around in our communities there are huge opportunities for us to be agents of transformation; opportunities for caring and supporting the old, the young, the less able, and the more vulnerable. Each one of us can make a difference and be the difference that God wants us to be.
How do we make a difference? First, by being aware of the overriding purpose of the life that God has given to us. At its heart is the fact that we are here to be agents of transformation in hands of the God who created us. Jesus taught His disciples to pray: ‘Thy kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. When we pray that prayer, we are not only petitioning God to bring about the transformation of our world through His rule and reign, invoking heaven’s rule here on earth, we are by implication buying into God’s agenda, effectively saying that we want to be part of the divine transformation agenda.
Second, not only do we open our eyes to the needs around us, we must be willing to engage in the task of being, by being, in Ghandi’s famous phrase, ‘the change we want to see.’
In Mathew’s gospel (we read a story of a time when Jesus was in an isolated place with thousands of people who had been with him for a long time. They were tired and hungry. The response of the disciples as to what should be done with the multitude was to send them away so that they could find food for themselves. But Jesus had a different idea. Once He identified that there were five loaves and two fish available, He gave the disciples the responsibility of first getting the seemingly small quantity of bread and fish available, but secondly, to organise the people in an orderly manner, before He prayed and miraculously multiplied the food. What in essence Jesus had done was to get the disciples to be part of the process of making a difference.
After He had prayed over the items of food and the disciples shared it, it was so greatly multiplied that five thousand people were able to eat to their heart’s content, with a huge quantity of food left. Apart from the miraculous nature of the story, what it tells us is that a difference can be made by one person, but God’s ideal is for it to be collaborative. Jesus in effect brought His disciples into partnership in the process of being difference makers.
We all can make a difference. That is our purpose in life. Not in isolation but through collaboration. Why don’t you look for people of like mind that you can partner with? If God has shown you an area of need where He wants you to be involved in, why don’t you bring them into the process and together be a people who command attention by making a difference in your world.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
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