It seems hard wired into us that we want to make a difference. Why do you think that is? Because, here’s the problem. There are over 6 billion people in the world! It’s easy to look into this great big world full of so many challenges, injustices and evils and feel small, insignificant and even useless. How can I possibly make a difference? Fatalism creeps in until we finally conclude that we simply exist for our own happiness and the only difference we make is to desperately try to find the next thing to take the dull, gloomy edge off life.
The alternative to a life focused on the happiness of one person, yourself, is to focus on the well-being of others, one person at a time. Think of a time when the thoughtfulness of someone else made all the difference for you. It’s only realistic to make a difference in this world one person at a time. Ask many of the most influential people in the world today and you will find that it started small, one person at a time… then it grew.
As Christians, we listen to the resurrected Jesus commission His disciples on the mountain before he ascended into heaven. There He told them and us to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching. But how does one “make” a disciple? I mean, it was easier for Jesus’ disciples to be disciples. They just followed Jesus around and tried to make sense of what he was saying. Now Jesus is telling his disciples to make disciples! Maybe that’s just it. Disciples follow the teacher, learn from him and go and make more disciples for the teacher. Jesus is our teacher and we are his disciples. We never stop being disciples. Instead, we constantly grow in our discipleship as we go and draw others into a relationship with the teacher. We share the teacher’s wisdom with them, look for the Holy Spirit to bring them to believe, baptize them and join with them as fellow disciples, following the teacher and making disciples.
What is the typical profile of a “Difference Making Disciple?” Does this person usually have a certain upbringing, a certain personality, or a certain education? The simple answer to that question is no. God can and does call his disciples from every nation and every walk of life to live in His forgiveness and make a difference by making disciples. Well, you know, it’s one thing to see an article from your pastor in the newsletter talking all about disciples making disciples. It’s quite another thing to hear how God has actually done it in the lives of real people just like you and me.
So that’s what we’re going to do. This Lent, beginning the week after Ash Wednesday on March 16 at 11am and 7pm we’re going to hear from real difference making disciples. Some have made a difference in foreign lands and cultures. Some have made a difference in their own neighborhoods. Some have made a difference with people considered to be outcasts in society. All of them have made a difference one disciple at a time. All of them follow Jesus and are forgiven sinners. All of them have stories that I pray will inspire you to also strive to be a difference making disciple. See you there!