“A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth.
The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.
Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts.
And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.”
(Indian Scientist, 1887-1963)
We’ve all said it at one time or another: “What difference can I make? I’m just one person.”
I recently came across a 2007 article by author and personal life coach Jo Middlemiss, where she reflected on a book she had received for Christmas — Change The World 9 to 5. It offered many small yet effective ways we can make a difference to the environment and to the lives of people. She listed several, and then said:
Please don’t think for one minute that I do all of these things, I don’t. I know I could do so much more, but for a long time I really did believe that it didn’t matter what I did – how could one little person make a difference? Then I heard a story about someone questioning Mother Teresa about her work with the homeless in India.
“Surely Mother, the work you are doing is but a drop in the ocean?”
“Yes” said the wise one, “But isn’t the ocean made up of drops?” Of course it is, and everything we do, say or think has an impact somewhere, somehow.
Ann Voskamp has recently returned from Haiti. Her heart is angry at the poverty, angry at the inequality between the life she saw there and her life at home, angry at her inability to change it all. But she does make a difference. She goes to them, demonstrates God’s love to them, helps the few she can, then shares her concerns in a way that convicts others of the need to also help. If you have a few moments to click over to Ann’s post, read her words, see her photos… oh, how it pierces!
We are but a single drop of moisture, a single drop in an ocean of hatred, hunger, fear, oppression, pain, injustice and apathy. The need overwhelms.
I remember how a single drop of water, a sliver of ice, on a parched tongue after surgery was such a blessing.
I have a small fridge magnet that displays a tiny flower and the words, “Bloom where you are planted.”
Each of us is only one… but God can use us to meet a need, if we will open our eyes to see it, distant or close to home — if we will allow him to convict and convince us into action. Each small gesture will join with others to make an impact.
I see what Ann is doing. What meaningful things have you noticed others around you doing, perhaps unobtrusively, that is making a difference in some way?
“The king will answer them, ‘I tell you with certainty,
since you did it for one of the least important of these brothers of mine,
you did it for me.'”
“Jesus said, “The first [commandment] in importance is,
‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one;
so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’
And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’
There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
~ ~ ~
5 thoughts on “Making an Impact”
What a great reminder this post is to all of us. I hear so many times “you can’t change the world, so why try?”
I always tell that person, “I’m not trying to change the world, God sends them to me one at a time.”
One of my neighbors shared the other day, “I walk through the neighborhood early every morning, and as I pass each house I pray for that family inside.” Psalms 66:19 But certainly God has heard me: He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
You make a difference my sweet friend, just like Mother Teresa…….
Yesterday, my 9-year-old granddaughter visited with my neighbour’s 4 year old granddaughter. I watched in amazement at how gentle and patient Selena was. It filled my heart.
I’m not out and about as much as most people, so I try to be as kind as I can in emails. That seems to be where most of my connections are. Some days I feel as if I’ve made an impact. Other days, ones where I’m grovelling to my publisher, I feel anything but. That’s why it is so important to see our little Selena being so sweet to someone half her age. Where did she learn that? Part of it comes from within, the place where God lives.
Hi Carol –
I think the impact comes when our actions inspire others to do something positive.
We writers love our “what-if questions.” What if no one had a vision for helping alleviate the plight of disaster victims? We wouldn’t have the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, and countless other organizations. I could go on, but you get the idea.
I takes very little to make someone’s day brighter.
Gosh…wish I’d read this post earlier. I would have had a better day 🙂 Thanks for your wise words, Carol.
Not my usual topic du jour, but sometimes we all need to reflect on the back-to-the-basics truth about our purpose on this earth. Thanks to each of you for indulging me today.