Saturday, November 7, 2009

Making a Difference

Sometimes I worry that I'm not really making a difference in the world. I often wish that I was better at helping people and that I had more time, money, and wisdom to contribute to solving the world's problems. I'm just an ordinary person with normal skills and a modest resources. I make a lot of mistakes, and they aren't exactly overwhelmed by a plethora of brilliant moments. Does it really matter what I do? Will anyone really notice my modest contributions?

Even though I ask myself these questions, deep down I already know the answers. My choices do matter, and my actions do make a difference. I just have to understand that while most of my efforts have a small impact, they can add up to a pretty big contribution over the span of my lifetime. I can slowly build a mountain with the tiny pebbles of love that I add to the pile each day. In fact, small contributions are the basis of a Christian life. It's great if we have the opportunity to do something big, but that still wouldn't excuse us from the small stuff. One big gift isn't worth more than my everyday efforts to love others. Everything is important, especially the small stuff.

Often it's our everyday conduct that makes the biggest impact on the people around us. Our neighbors will notice if we make a big contribution to the community, but they'll remember even more vividly whether we're inclined to smile at others or to support them in their daily lives. If we are generous but aloof, the impact of our generosity will be less than if it was combined with everyday love. Therefore our small efforts give our big achievements even more meaning. If I live a Christian life every day, then all of the good things I do, both small and great, will combine together for maximum impact on the world. I think consistency is more important than intensity when it comes to Christian living, and that means that small everyday acts of love are very important.

It's true that my contributions are sometimes smaller than I would like them to be. Still, every little act of love does make a difference. Even if my efforts go unnoticed by the people around me, God sees and appreciates everything I do. The opportunity to brighten up my Savior's day is nothing to scoff at. So when I get discouraged about my seeming smallness in the world, I hope I will remember this and be heartened. I do matter, and so do all of you.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

"And if I can make just one life better,
Bring a smile to your face when you're under the weather,
Then I'm feelin' like I've finally found my home.
I'll plant the seeds and watch them grow.
And I'm gonna fly...
Higher than I ever, ever could."

Speaking as a person who regularly benefits from your everyday kindness, I know for sure that you matter. Because your kindness isn't just on a holiday or when you're particularly happy - it really is every day. And it makes all the difference in the world, even if only to me. I think you're like me in that you don't know if you'll change the world, but you'll change what you can and see what comes of it.

For a totally other quote, "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make its own judgment."


If I'm any judge, you have already changed the world. You made it safer for me, for Sarah, and that is no small thing. You do it every day, every hug. And it's more important than I could ever tell you. You'll never be small in our world.

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