You Make A Difference

One of my favorite Christmas movies is "It’s a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It’s such a classic story—a man who is full of dreams to travel and make a difference in the world but who gets caught up taking care of business at home and doing the right thing. Well, one thing leads to another and the trips never get taken and somewhere in the middle of life he wonders if his life has counted for anything at all.

You remember the rest of the story—an angel comes and shows him what would have happened if he had never lived. He had made a difference and that was enough.

Isn’t that the question we all ask ourselves? Does what I do count for anything at all? It’s somewhat ironic that we get so hung up on this question, but we find ourselves questioning the meaning of our lives at times and wondering if our life counts. There is a great story about John the Baptist that I always think of when I get caught up asking this question.

John had a fairly auspicious beginning. An angel came to announce to an unbelieving, aged father that his until then barren, aged wife, was going to give birth to a son. He was to be the forerunner, the herald, of the long awaited Messiah. Now most of us are not born knowing in such a well-defined way our life path. But it was critical that John not miss the point. He was selected and chosen for something very specific and special. The good news was that he was then faithful to his calling. He steadfastly fulfilled his soul covenant in spite of the fact that it wasn’t necessarily an easy job.

He took a Nazirite vow, which meant that he lived a simple life wearing clothes of camel’s hair and ate wild locust and honey. Personally, that would have been difficult for me, but he acted in accordance with the high calling to which he was chosen and acted his part faithfully in calling the people of his day to repentance. His job was to prepare their hearts and awaken them to the fact of the Messiah’s appearance.

By the very nature of his calling when the Messiah did appear it signaled the end of John’s work. He was even thrown into prison. While he was there he became discouraged. Had his life amounted to anything? Had he made a difference? He sent his disciples out to ask Jesus if He was truly the Messiah or should they look for someone else. This was a dark night of the soul for him. His faith had fallen short.

John’s disciples returned with stories of people healed—the lame walked, the blind could see again, the deaf could hear. Jesus sent a gentle rebuke reminding John that “blessed were those who were not offended by Him”. It was enough to restore his faith. He had made a difference and that was enough.

We each one have a soul covenant—a reason we are here. Sometimes life is full of difficulties and it appears that we are not living our dreams. But life is really about character development not about comfort. It is about serving and learning not necessarily about certainty. The ironic thing is that if we are faithful to our higher calling—our soul covenant—then we will find contentment and happiness even if we are not always certain.

We don’t always understand things clearly. We are sometimes uncertain of what we are doing. We are many times unsure of the meaning of different events in our lives. But one thing is certain, if we commit to knowing God and being of service in the world, our life will make a difference. God does have need of us. We can do things that God and the angels can’t do. We are needed to be light workers in this dark world and if we show up every day and volunteer for service, our life will count for something.

I sometimes hear the gentle rebuke of Jesus when I become discouraged with my life. It is not an easy life that any of us are called too. It is easy to forget why we are here. But when we look at all that God has provided for us, when we see the life of Christ poured out for us, when we understand that Heaven has spared no expense for us, then we can see and understand that showing up to be a witness to the goodness of God is worth it.

Life is not about getting credit for the things we do anyway. It is about spreading love and we are only sharing what we were given not what we created. We are not the author only the enthusiastic supporters of a God’s love.

That gives me reason to rejoice—it gives me a sense of purpose and a reason to keep on moving forward. I hope it does the same for you, also. Walk forth today in the knowledge that you are loved and that by sharing that love you make a difference in the lives of others.