‘I could have changed the world …’

Can we make a difference? I suspect that we all want to, but there are a couple of hurdles that need to be cleared.

Can we make a difference? I suspect that we all want to, but there are a couple of hurdles that need to be cleared.

First, we mustn’t think that we are too small or insignificant to make a difference. Someone comically said that, “If you think you are too small to make a difference you have never been in bed with a mosquito!”

Second, we need to recognize that making a difference will often include selflessness and sacrifice … as it did for Tony Kistan.

On April 28, 1996, a gunman walked into a crowded cafe in Port Arthur, Australia and began firing. The shooting spree resulted in the death of 35 and the wounding of 23.

Tony Kistan, a Salvation Army officer, and his wife Sarah were in the restaurant when the terrible massacre began. Tony immediately stepped in front of his wife to protect her from the gunfire.

Consequently, he was one of the first to be hit. As Sarah cradled her dying husband in her arms he uttered his last words. He told her, “I’m going to be with the Lord.”

Are you wondering, “What difference did that make? A good man is dead, and for what?” I would admit that there’s validity in that line of reasoning but the story is not quite done.

At a press conference shortly after the shooting, Tony’s 24-year-old son Nesan described his father’s commitment to the gospel of Christ. He explained that this was why Tony had a such strong assurance as he was dying.

As Nesan spoke, toughened journalists and calloused photographers and cameramen were seen wiping away tears from their eyes. They delivered Tony’s final words of faith through the Australian media and then around the world. Tony had faithfully shared his faith in Christ with strangers and friends, but now in death, the message that he loved was shared with millions. He had made a difference!

Thankfully, we don’t have to be shot to make a difference. However, we must recognize that making a difference begins with us.

An early church writer said, “As a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult, so I tried to change my nation. I found I couldn’t change the nation, so I focused on my town…I couldn’t change the town…then I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if I had changed myself, I could have impacted my family…my family and I could have made an impact on our town…their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world!”

Are you making a difference?

Pastor Ross Helgeton is the senior pastor of Erskine Evangelical Free Church.

— Faith & Reflection

 


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