Am I making a difference? | Third Space

Am I making a difference?

We want to do more than just eat, sleep and pay the bills. We want our lives to make a difference.
Wed 10 Jun 2015



I have a friend called Paul. A little while ago, I emailed him but never got a reply. About a week later, he emailed back and explained that he had been sick. His appendix had ruptured and he went to hospital for an operation. But he was home and better now.

I cheekily replied,

“Wow, 100 years ago if that had happened, you’d be dead now. But now because of antibiotics you’re still alive!”

Being a doctor, I know that antibiotics have made a difference.

And deep, deep down we also want to make a difference. We want to do more than just eat, sleep and pay the bills. We want our lives to make a difference.

But how can we make a difference? Often the problems in this world seem too overwhelming. What can one person possibly do?

Every day when I go to work in the city, I pass homeless people asking me for money. If I give money to one homeless person, I will make a difference. But there will be hundreds more homeless people I can also give money to. So how much can I possibly do?

And what are my motivations for making a difference? Studies show that when people give to charity they feel good about themselves. On the surface, we might look like we’re giving, but on the inside, we’re rewarding ourselves. So our motivations might not be totally pure. Maybe we’re giving due to feelings of insecurity. Or we’re giving because we have a saviour complex.

In the book of Mark, Jesus comes and makes a difference - he heals a man who is paralysed:

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,
“Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them,
“Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”
he said to the paralytic—
I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying,
“We never saw anything like this!”

Mark 2:1-12

Jesus does this because he admires the faith of the man’s friends. What makes this miracle possible is the faith and actions of ordinary people. What’s more interesting is that Jesus forgives the man’s sins first before healing his legs.

What can we learn about making a difference from this story in the Bible?

1. On the one hand, God is making a difference in this world. He does this by sending his Son Jesus into this world to heal diseases and forgive sins. There will be a day when Jesus comes again and ultimately fixes up everything. But in the meantime, God is at work and making a difference. So if the world and its problems are too overwhelming, trust that God has a plan and has it all under control.

2. But on the other hand, Jesus makes a difference through the faith and actions of ordinary people like us. So, even though God is in control, we also need to take the initiative and be the agents through which Jesus makes a difference. The little that we do does make a difference.

3. But, finally, the primary problem of this world is the sin in our own hearts. So, if we want to make a difference, we first need to let Jesus make a difference in our own hearts. If we give our lives to Jesus, he will forgive our sins and give us a fresh start. This way, when we are trying to make a difference, we will have pure motivations rather than selfish ones. And the glory will go to Jesus rather than to ourselves.

Contact us to find out more about forgiveness and making a fresh start in life.

Sam Chan also blogs at his

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