Making a Difference Where We Are
You are the light of the world . . . let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your God in heaven (Matthew 5: 14 & 16).
Jesus is reminding us that who we are matters. Who we are can make a difference. I know each of us has heard this before. But how does it really work out?
Let me offer an example. Near the end of the great depression, my grandpa Carlson (I called him Pops) went in to meet with the banker who held the note on his farm. After years and years of trying to make it, he finally realized the depression had taken its toll and he could no longer pay the bills for the family farm. At the time he was married, and they had three young boys.
He made an appointment with the Banker, a man he knew well from that small community. He went in and said, “The depression has taken its toll. I can no longer pay our bills. You will have to take the farm.”
The banker looked at my grandfather and said, “Swede, I have more farms than I know what to do with. I don’t need another. You stay on the farm. You do your best to work the land. Let me know how much money you need, we will keep track of it and when this depression turns, you can begin to pay me back.”
This banker made a choice. He could have responded very differently to my grandfather. He could have said, “Well, too bad. We will sell off the farm. You will have to move out.” He could have said that. My grandfather was expecting that.
But that is not what happened. This banker looked at my grandfather, and at that whole situation of how the depression was affecting that part of the world and made a different choice. He chose to see my grandfather for who he was, an honest, hard-working, responsible person. And he acted to give him a chance. By giving my grandfather a chance, it changed and affected the story of our family.
Who you are and how you act, can make a difference in this world! When we live in a time when our politics and our reaction to politics is so volatile, our actions can become even more important. We can choose to act differently than what we see on TV, with people and politicians speaking angrily at each other and past each other. We can remind ourselves, that even though we might see the world differently, we will treat each other with kindness and respect that honors the One to whom we belong.
Gracious God, thank you for reminding us that we matter. Thank you for reminding us to go into the world to be salt and light. Help us to make a difference for you in the situations we are in and with the people that you send to us. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.