Making a Difference: The Prominent Servant

Making a Difference: The Prominent Servant

As we go through life, we all want to make a difference. We want to leave a positive impact on the world and help others in any way we can. But how do we do that? How can we make sure that the work we do is truly making a difference, and not just spinning our wheels?

In life, you can reach your destination faster by standing on the shoulders of those who have gone ahead of you. If you come across someone who has already achieved what you are striving for, you can apply their successful strategies to shorten your own journey. We should always be willing to learn from those who have come before us to make progress faster.

In particular, we can look to the disciples of Jesus, who left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire and challenge people to date. What can we learn from their lives and their work, and how can we apply those lessons to our own lives?

The Least Likely Becoming the Most Likely

The first principle we need to embrace is that the least likely can become the most likely. We often tend to overlook people or situations that seem insignificant or unimportant. When Jesus called his disciples, he did not choose the most educated, the most influential, or the most powerful. Instead, he chose twelve ordinary men, most of whom were fishermen or tradesmen. Yet, through their obedience and faithfulness, these twelve men went on to change the world.

From this we learn that it’s not our background or our status that determines our ability to make a difference. It’s our willingness to follow God’s call and do what he asks of us, no matter how unlikely or unworthy we may feel.

Undisputable Change: Before and After

The second lesson we can learn from the disciples is that making a difference requires undisputable change. We cannot make a difference by merely tinkering around the edges or making cosmetic changes. There must be a before and after.

The disciples understood this. They knew that they weren’t just preaching a message or doing good deeds for the sake of it; they were bringing people into a new relationship with God, and that relationship would change their lives forever. They were becoming “fishers of men,” as Jesus said in Matthew 4:19. If we want to make a difference as the disciples did, we need to ask ourselves: What is the most important thing we can do to help people and make the world a better place? What change do we want to see in the world, and how can we work to bring that change about?

Avoiding Comparison, Compensation, and Competition

The third lesson we can learn from the disciples is the importance of avoiding comparison, compensation, and competition. These three things can easily distract us from our goal of making a difference and can even lead us astray.

Comparison is when we look at others and measure ourselves against them. This can lead to feelings of superiority or inferiority, both of which are damaging to our ability to make a difference. Many of us don’t know that the moment you compare yourself to someone else even in belittling yourself there is pride in the fact that you think you have a better opinion than God. You know you are good at something but because everybody has put you to a certain standard you choose to listen to the opinion of others more than you listen to God. Woe unto us because that is pride before the eyes of God.

Compensation is often viewed as asking God for something in exchange for leaving everything behind. While sustenance is a key element, it is also important to understand who the source is. Sometimes, we hold onto our own needs and desires, thus preventing us from making a difference in the place God has given us. However, God will supply our needs according to His riches in glory.

Competition is unnecessary and should be avoided. There is enough for everyone, and making a difference involves bringing change and helping others. It’s remarkable how many times one can overhear conversations where someone is sharing their testimony about how the Lord led them to a particular country, but another person jumps in to prove that they had already been there before, not even allowing the speaker to finish. Many of us to hold on to the need of being the one who is in the limelight, but we don’t know that the moment we let the other person’s light shine, the Lord puts a spotlight on you.

Fighting the good fight of faith

In 2nd Timothy 4:5-8, Paul addresses the issues of comparison, compensation, and competition. Paul fought the good fight of faith because he was against the dividing wall of hostility where there was a demarcation between Jew and Gentile. There was a demarcation between male and female and there was a demarcation between slave and master. Everywhere Paul went he never wanted there to be a comparison between two people. Are you for fighting the good fight of ensuring there is no dividing wall of hostility? The ministry that we have been called to is the ministry of reconciliation.

Paul ran the race with the expectation of compensation, and he knew how to steward what he had. When we have little, we should learn to work with it and avoid complaining. When we have an abundance, we should avoid extravagant living. T.D. Jakes reminds us that we can only use one car, wear one pair of shoes, and wear one dress at a time.

Paul declares, “I have kept the faith” and testifies that he poured himself out completely, even as his departure approached. Jesus at the transfiguration reveals that the law and prophets are not everything and that He is the Savior who brings grace and redemption. He saves us completely, and we do not have to wait until we are in heaven to experience the benefits of our work.

Paul also reminds us in Colossians 1:18 that Jesus is the head of the church, and in all things, He should have the preeminence. No one, not even Moses or Elijah, can compare to the distinct preeminence of Jesus. Therefore, we must have a place in our hearts where Christ is preeminent, and no one, including spouses, children, money, or influence, can take His place.

Prominence means that you are attractive, and you are widely known. Where we are headed requires that we must be attractive to the world. You and I must be widely known because the generation that we are living in must see influence, but our level of influence doesn’t come according to the ways of the world.

We live in a world that often values competition and individual achievement over collaboration and service. Therefore, it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters. True impact comes from making a real difference in people’s lives, not just from personal achievement or recognition. In other words, if we want to make a real difference in the world, we need to be doing something that truly matters.

As the Lord said to the prophet Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). If we have a heart that is willing to serve and obey God, then we too can make a difference, no matter how ordinary we may seem.

 

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