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Q&A: Were we “created to make a difference”?

I saw a sign that read, “You were created to make a difference.” What is your opinion of that message?

What does making a difference mean?

God did create us to make a difference! “You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16). But what does that look like?

Pastors and teachers are encouraged to “hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught” (Titus 1:9). Citizens are told to pay their taxes (Matthew 22:21). Husbands need to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives are to submit to their husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-25). Parents are to bring their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord, and children are to honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-4). Workers should obey their bosses, and bosses should treat their employees fairly (Ephesians 6:5-8). And every Christian is to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9).

Jesus will praise the difference you make

God has not called us to do things he has not given us the opportunity to do. Instead, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). A quote often attributed to Martin Luther says: “The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”

God gives us the abilities, the opportunities, and even the desire to do good works, and yet he still says he will praise those works on the Last Day! “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35,36).

Notice, Jesus does not say, “For you gave millions of dollars to the poor, and you started a charity, and you volunteered 40 hours a week at church.” No, he points to giving food, giving drink, helping the sick—acts of love and concern for others. This is what makes a difference!

God makes a difference through you

The truth is we cannot even dream of the difference God makes through our lives. “To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20,21).

Johann Sebastian Bach inscribed many of his music manuscripts with the initials “INJ” (In Nomine Jesu, In Jesus’ Name) and “SDG” (Soli Deo Gloria, To God Alone be the Glory). What a beautiful summary of our lives! We awake each morning with the name of Jesus imprinted on us in our baptisms, and we live the day to God’s glory. We carry out the everyday callings of father, mother, worker, employer, child, Christian. At the end of the day, having washed us clean of every imperfection, Jesus looks at us and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23).

If that’s not making a difference, I don’t know what is!

Author: David Scharf
Volume 108, Number 1
Issue: January 2021

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