How easy it can be to see that number in a great many contexts and minimize it or give it too much credit. I wonder if sometimes that relates to what we project from within us.
If we tend to over-emphasize our importance, knowledge, or skill, we may consider “one” to be much bigger than it is. If we tend to feel we have little that is of value or importance, lack skills or knowledge, we may determine we have little to offer. In the latter case we will often remain silent. In the former case we will jump in without considering if that is what we are called to do.
“One” may not be something we want to explore too deeply because it requires self-evaluation and irrespective of whatever group or groups we are in, it results in accountability. Avoidance of it misses a great deal that is important for each of us to be reminded of, I think.
You see, “one” always equals a difference. That difference can be positive or negative, now or later, but it will always mean a difference. That suggests that something will be required of each one of us because for whatever we do or do not know, we each know some things. For those things, we cannot plead ignorance nor shift responsibility on to anyone else.
It might be tempting to bring up all of our connections or groups and how they influence us, and it is true they exert a level of influence or control on each one of us. But it is our choice about how we respond, and that response can make a great deal of difference to/for us as well as to/for others.
One angel chose to esteem himself higher than he was. The difference for him was to be thrown out of heaven and God’s presence. That choice and decision on his part meant that we have had him as an enemy that has shadowed us from the day we first were born.
One shepherd boy keeping watch over his father’s flock went to visit his brothers on the battlefield with some extra food for their nourishment. When he arrived, he discovered the army his brothers were a part of were stymied by a giant who was taunting them. This giant was far bigger and stronger than the men of the army and they trembled when they heard his voice.
The boy knew that the army of his brothers was on God’s side and he could not believe they were shrinking back from dealing with the giant. He took his sling and a smooth stone and took down the giant in a single attempt. The difference for the boy is that he gained favor from the king of his country. Because he had a heart like God’s, he was later anointed king to replace the king who had favored him. Despite his mistakes, God made a promise to him to honor him forever. That difference resulted in Jesus coming to earth and fulfilling the promise for a perfect king while also taking the consequences for all of us who chose Him as our forever king.
Most of you know those stories well as they speak of Lucifer (the angel) and David (the shepherd boy).
But that story of the difference of one has replayed over and over countless times throughout history.
One British politician observed the dark evils of slavery in the British empire and chose to lobby for the abolition of the slave trade for 18 long years. Time and again he introduced anti-slavery motions into the British parliament. He retired from politics without seeing passage of his motions and then shortly before his death eight years later the act to free the slaves in the British empire passed through the House of Commons. What a difference his choice to persevere made in the lives of uncounted numbers of lives and what an example William Wilberforce left for us all.
Books have been so much a part of many of our lives that it is hard to envision a world without them. Some of us still prefer them to reading on any one of our new electronic devices. Even so there was a great length of time when news of the day and history was passed along orally. Later when an alphabet was devised, a very few began to write on parchments to communicate and record history.
Chinese monks developed block printing as a step to bring books into form, but one German goldsmith in the 15th century (Johannes Gutenberg) invented the printing press enabling the mass production of books and a rapid dissemination of knowledge throughout Europe. That one man, that one invention, made a great difference in the lives of anyone who learned to read. If you are reading this in any format, it made a difference in your life as well since you likely first learned to read with a commercially created book.
A fisherman left his nets one day and followed one who was called a teacher whose name was Jesus. He developed a great passion for his teaching and vowed loyalty, but when crunch time came, and Jesus was being tried this fisherman denied him. His mistake left him in shame until one day on the beach Jesus fed him breakfast and Peter was restored and transformed.
This same “one” after the shaking on Pentecost preached mightily despite growing persecution and laid a foundation for the early church. The difference flowed down to the present day for any and all who will believe his message. The difference for Peter was that it cost him his life at the hands of the Roman empire.
When one babe was born in Bethlehem prophecies of old were fulfilled and his teaching boggled the minds of all who heard Him. When He offered himself in sacrifice for all who would believe in Him, it became the greatest gift. His choice made a difference that has affected every person ever born since that day whether they have chosen Him or not.
What about you?
You are “one” person unlike any other born and living in this time.
What difference will you make?