We tend to think that one person can't make much of a difference. But I still remember a Reader's Digest story that I read years ago. A man passed by a lady throwing starfish back into the ocean, after a huge storm had tossed them on shore. As the man surveyed the hopeless situation of hundreds of starfish, lying on the beach, he remarked, "Why are you doing that? It can't possibly make a difference."
The lady thought about that statement for a moment, then smiled, and looked at the solitary starfish in her hand, and proudly said, "To this one it will."
She tossed the lone starfish back into the sea, and continued in her efforts to save the rest-one by one.
That is how it is with the people we come in contact with every single day. Someone is hurting, someone is crying, someone is devastated, and thinking of ending it all. Will we have eyes to see them? Or will we walk on by, not wanting to get involved?
Never underestimate the power of one kind word, one compassionate gesture, one smile or hug.
I had a Christian radio program for 9 years on a local station. It was called, Love Notes, and it was a 15 minute show with inspirational/motivational teaching, and a couple of songs that matched the message.
One night, I was at church, when a man walked up and asked, "Are you the one that does the Love Notes show?"
I smiled and said, "Yes", expecting to talk about radio a little. But what happened next, I have never forgotten.
The man said, "I was listening to you the other day...with a gun to my head...and something you said...stopped me from pulling the trigger."
(I never heard another word that he said.) I just threw my arms around him, so thankful that he was standing in front of me, still alive. I am sure that he told me more of the story, but honestly, I never heard it.
Later, I said, "God, I wonder what it was that I said?"
I heard that still small voice that we so often overlook. He said, "You don't need to know, because then you'd think you saved his life, instead of Me."
I knew it was true, and I thanked the Lord for giving me the right words to say, at that moment in time, for that man. I surely didn't know what would save his life, but God did.
If we started viewing everyone that we come in contact with, in light of these stories, perhaps we would change our actions. Maybe we wouldn't be so fast to walk past a hurting person. Perhaps we would listen more intently when someone is hurting, and be willing to stop our busy lives, and give a hug, or a smile.
Can one person really make a difference? What do you think?