Summary: This sermon shows who makes a difference; how they do it; and why they do it.
A minister wore a carnation on his lapel every Sunday morning. He never gave it much thought until one day after church, a visiting boy about ten years old asked if he could have it. The minister handed it to him and asked him why he wanted it.
The boy said that his parents were divorced the year before, and he went to live with his mother, but when she remarried, her new husband didn’t want him around so they sent him to live with his dad. Within a month, his dad said he was too busy to raise him and sent him to his grandmother to live.
He said his grandmother takes care of him and feeds him and buys him clothes. The boy said that is why he wanted the flower, to give to his grandmother for loving him.
The minister could barely keep the tears back, but told the boy that he didn’t want the carnation. He said that for a reason that special, he needed a bouquet. He told the boy to go up front and get the big bunch of flowers in front of his pulpit and give them to his grandmother.
As the boy smiled and turned to go get them, the minister heard him say, “What a wonderful day – I asked for one flower and got a whole bouquet.”
How often do we brighten up the lives of others with special acts like this? More to the point, how often do we look for these opportunities? I want to tell each one of you tonight that you can make a tremendous difference in other people’s lives. You don’t have to be rich or especially talented. All you have to be is loving. No matter what your circumstances, you can make a positive difference in other people’s lives.
1. WHY TRY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
There are several reasons we should try to make a difference in other people’s lives. I would say one of those reasons is that the world actually depends on it. Can you imagine a world where nobody cared about anybody else? Can you imagine a world where nobody tried to ever help anybody else?
The world we live in depends on people helping people. We depend on the world giving food and aid when there is a Tsunami or a gigantic earthquake. We depend on the world to help when one nation unfairly attacks another, such as when Iraq invaded Kuwait. We would never survive if people didn’t try to help each other. Without compassionate people, this world would collapse into absolute satanic chaos.
We should also try to make a difference in other people’s lives because it makes such a wonderful difference in ours when we do. We are never told how the Good Samaritan felt after helping the man alongside the road, or how Paul felt when he helped deliver the money to a church in Jerusalem, but I would think that both felt very good.
There was a teacher who, at Thanksgiving, had asked her third grade class to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She was sure that many of the underprivileged kids in her class wouldn’t really have anything to be thankful for. When the drawing were turned in, there were the turkeys and drawings of family, but one in particular got her attention. It was a picture of a hand.
She wondered if the child was drawing a parent’s hand or maybe even God’s hand. When she asked the little boy whose hand it was, he said, “It’s your hand, Teacher, because you are good to me and you care for me."
Just like this little boy, we can always find something to be thankful fore, and there is always somebody in your life that you can help, if you care enough to look for the many opportunities that exist.
As much as people need others to lend them a helping hand, there is one thing needed even more. People need somebody to reach out to them with a hand full of the love of Christ. There is no better way to strengthen your heart than to lift someone else up in the love of Jesus.
We are talking about helping people. Think for a moment about all the neighbors you have had over the years and what kind of people they were. We knew some of our neighbors and didn’t know others, right?
When you think about all the chances you had to help your neighbors throughout the year, how many can you really remember helping? Some say you shouldn’t get involved in other people’s lives, but I think that isn’t right. Certainly we cannot be nosey, but we can, and should, offer our help.
Another reason we need to reach out to help in Jesus’ name is because we are expected to by God.