There are some people who, by the nature of their jobs, get to make a difference in the world every day. These include, but certainly are not limited to teachers, policemen, health care professionals, and high school guidance counselors.
Each job comes with its rewards and its disappointments. The teacher has the opportunity to mold minds, bodies, and character. Students will respond in different ways to the promptings of the teacher, some good, some not so.
The policeman may lift up a victim by arresting the victim’s aggressor. He can make an area safer for hundreds or thousands of citizens. However, the policeman likely will be reviled by those he arrests or cites for violating the law, or worse yet, physically attacked.
The healthcare professional can bring comfort to patients and even save lives, or they may see the demise of a patient or even its death brought on by things outside of the caregiver’s control.
Finally, high school guidance counselors can provide advice on career decisions, relationships, drug and pregnancy counseling and other educational or social matters. Sometimes their counsel will be accepted and other times it will be ignored.
In spite of the heartaches, the long hours, the lack of respect or appreciation for what they do, most would not want to do any other job. Many would tell us that they selected their line of work because they wanted to make a difference in the world.
Some of us might say, “Sure, it’s easy for them to make a difference, they’re dealing with lots of lives every day. They’ve got plenty of opportunity. I just get up, go to work, see my kids for a few minutes in the evening, get my bath, go to bed and start all over again tomorrow.”We need to recognize that it is not necessary to have a full time job dedicated to making a difference. It might take a few minutes at lunch to be a “friendly ear” to someone who needs a sounding board or just needs an unbiased opinion about a personal matter. A momentary act of kindness may change the way someone feels for the rest of the day.
Not only that, but it may foster a chain reaction of charitable events that will pass from one person to another.It doesn’t take a lot of brainstorming to come up with other ideas.
We can be a mentor, start a bible study or prayer group, collect shoes for the homeless, coach a little league team, give rides to someone who can’t drive to the store or to the doctor’s office, donate time or money to a community services organization, greet everyone with a smile or think of something nice to say to people you work with.
A popular expression of kindness today is the “pay it forward” transaction where people pick up the check at a restaurant for a complete stranger. They have even done it through the drive up window at fast food outlets. They may even “pay it forward” by doing acts of kindness for others similar to gifts they have received.Will we know if we’ve made a difference? Does it matter if we know, or is the effort what is important? Our goal is to touch someone in a positive way without expectation of recognition or reward.
Let’s make a commitment to do at least one thing each month that will make a difference in the life of another, using our money, time or talent. “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Rom 12:6-8)