I’m sure all of us have said to ourselves at one time or another: “I’m just one man. What difference can I make?” I’ve thought that to myself a few times when I’ve faced challenges that seemed nearly impossible to overcome.
But our history is full of reminders of times when one man did make a difference, when one man changed the course of history.
In modern history: Neil Armstrong was one man. The words he spoke as he stepped out onto the surface of the moon are forever immortalized.
Martin Luther King was one man. He championed the cause of civil rights in a way that earned respect from people of all races.
Going back a few decades, one man gave a one word reply when a German commander demanded the surrender of the troops who were defending the strategically vital town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge: “NUTS!” With that one word, the under equipped, half frozen, half-starved troops found new strength and dug in and fought off what turned out to be Nazi Germany’s last ditch effort to turn the tide of the war in Europe in their favor.
And ladies, none of this is exclusive to men. This was originally written in January of 2013 to the men of my church in Grapevine, Texas on behalf of the men’s ministry department, but this applies to you as well. You’ve probably asked how one woman can make a difference. Well….in modern times again, consider a woman like Rosa Parks who wanted nothing more than to be treated with the respect that any human, man or woman, deserves! Look at what she started!
And then there are the biblical accounts of women who made a difference, women like Deborah who ruled Israel for forty years in a time when women didn’t hold such positions.
There was Ruth who demonstrated the love of God in a way that could still serve as model of Christ-like love today.
There was Ester, whose courage saved her people from annihilation.
There was Rahab the prostitute, who protected the Israelite spies who had been sent to scout out Jericho. She acknowledged the God of Israel as the one true God, and because of what she did for God’s people, God intervened and changed her life forever.
And there was Mary, the mother of our Savior. After being told by the angel Gabriel, “…you have found favor with God!” Mary replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
God uses men and women both to accomplish His plans. There was one time in particular when God’s anger burned against the Israelites so much so that He was prepared to destroy them all. But one man stood between the Israelites and God.
From Exodus 32 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “O Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
One man favored by God saved a nation.
And of course, our savior Jesus Christ was one man. This one man bore the sins for all mankind. He changed the course of human history. He changed our perception of who God was. He was God, and He was man. He has changed millions of lives. He has saved what otherwise would have been lost. He loved us when we rejected Him. He accepts us as we are. He stands before the Father on our behalf as Moses stood before God.
He was just one man. Yet I don’t recall reading anywhere in the Bible where Jesus said, “I’m just one man. How can I make a difference?”
But when you think about it, that’s not a bad question to ask God when we pray. “Lord, I’m just one man (or one woman). How can I make a difference?”
Ask God. He’ll show you how.