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Qualities Of Those Who Make A Difference - Rev. Funke Ewuosho
God"s will for each and everyone of us is to make a difference on earth. Whoever you are; wherever you are, and whatever you do- you can make a difference!
God created each one of us in His image and after His likeness, yet each one is different, each one is unique, each one is original. No two people on earth are the same; not even identical twins! Everyone is special to God, everyone is important to God and His programme on the earth. Everyone has a part to play, “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:16).
To be different is to differ or to be unlike somebody or something else. It also means to disagree in opinion; to be distinguishable, to be significant, to be important and to be noteworthy.
God created us to be different from one another; to see things differently, to think differently, to respond differently, etc; and that is designed for the good of all.
“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Rom. 12:4-6). However, it is one thing to be different but it is a totally different thing to MAKE a difference! The Bible says Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him; and he was therefore set over the whole realm. (Dan. 6:3). Everyone is different but not everyone will make a difference! Everyone has a purpose, but not everyone will fulfil their purpose. Everyone has potentials, but not everyone will fulfil their potentials. Everyone has a destiny, but not everyone will fulfil their destiny. That would be a sad thing though, because it is God"s will that we all should make a difference; that we all should fulfil our purpose on earth, fulfil our potentials and fulfil our destiny, so that like the Apostle Paul, we could say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7).
We would make the difference, however, only if we would be ready to pay the price! The price to pay is outlined in the qualities that are common to those who made the difference, both in the Bible and in the contemporary world. Let us see some of those qualities.
1. They Are Courageous
Courage means, the readiness to face and endure danger or difficulty; the ability to control or suppress fear or its disturbing effects. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act despite one"s fears, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me...” (Ps. 23:4). When I am afraid, I will trust in You. (Ps. 56:3). Esther said “...I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Es. 4:16).
Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist, was ready to face and endure whatever the danger or difficulty that could arise as a result of her refusal to move from her seat to make room in the white section, on the Bus! That was courage; it wasn"t easy but it was worth it! As a result of her courageous act, on the 13th of November 1956, the United States Supreme Court ruled that segregation was unlawful and the city of Montgomery, Alabama had no right to impose it on people riding their buses. The signs on the bus seats, designating white and colored sections were removed!
2. They Are Confident
Confidence means, firm trust; a feeling of certainty; boldness, etc. Confidence comes from knowing who you are, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4). Confidence comes from knowing whose you are and whom you serve. (Acts 27:23). Confidence comes from knowing what you have. Peter said to the lame man at Gate Beautiful, “silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give you...” (Acts 3:6). Confidence is in knowing who your Source is! “I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:1-2). Daniel said the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits. (Dan. 11:32). “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant...” (1 Cor. 3:4-6).
3. They Are Adventurous
Those who make a difference see what many others don"t see. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Heb. 11:13-16).
They always seek something better than their present position. Martin Luther King (Jr.) sought a better America, where his children will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their character; and truly he died in faith, not having received it but he saw it afar off! Rosa Parks desired a better country, where people of all colour could sit wherever they wish on buses, throughout the nation of America. People who make a difference are always hungry for more; they are never satisfied with the status quo. They are adventurous; they are risk takers! The daughters of Zelophehad challenged the inheritance law in Israel and God changed it to give daughters also the right to a share in their father"s possessions! (Num. 27:4-9).
4. They Are Selfless
If Esther had only thought about herself, she would have remained silent in the palace! Nobody knew her true identity before then. Esther put her life on the line for her people!
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Rev. 12:11). The Apostle Paul said he didn"t count his life dear to himself, so that he might finish his race with joy and the ministry he had received from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:24). We are to run the race set before us with endurance, that is, with perseverance. (Heb. 12:1).
If you would make a difference, you have to stop thinking only about yourself alone; your needs, your desires, your reputation, your comfort, etc. Ruth refused to return to her people and to her gods; she clung to Naomi. She didn"t make a selfish decision. She committed herself to Naomi, to Naomi"s people and to her God; she committed herself to a lifelong relationship. Boaz said to her: “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.” (Ruth 2:11).
People who make a difference don"t think only about themselves, they are sacrificial. The blacks boycotted the buses for three hundred and eighty one days, they only stopped the boycott when the Supreme Court ruled on the 13th of November, 1956 that segregation was unlawful and the signs designated white and colored sections on buses were removed! Rosa Parks was arrested and taken to jail as a result of her refusal to move to make more room on the bus in the white section, and she even lost her job as a result of all that followed. The women who fought women"s suffrages in Great Britain campaigned relentlessly for about 52 years; some of them faced trials and were jailed, and even went on hunger and thirst strikes!
To make a difference, we must move from success (personal) to significance. It is not just for us or our immediate family; it is for generations to come.
5. They Are Consonant
People who make a difference are never an island to themselves. They always recognise the role and the place of others. They worked with others to achieve a common goal. Somebody said, a lot more will be done if nobody cares who gets the credit!
Esther knew she couldn"t act alone. She asked Mordecai and all the Jews in Shushan to pray and fast for her, and she and her maids also fasted, before she went in to see the king. (Esther 4:16). Daniel did not act alone. He acted with his three friends in his decision not to defile himself with the king"s meat. (Dan.1:11-15). Also when he needed to know the interpretation of the king"s dream he went to his friends and they all prayed together. God answered their prayer by revealing the dream and its interpretation to Daniel. When the king promoted Daniel he also petitioned the king to promote his friends also. (Dan. 2:17-19).
The Women who struggled for women"s suffrages in Great Britain and the Unites States worked in consonance. Sylvia Parkhurst (1911) said: “All over America, the suffragists declare that they gained hope and inspiration from our own Great British Movement. In the early day of our long struggle, it was we who drew our inspiration from them. Our movements act and react on each other.” In Great Britain, The women won the right to vote in 1918, and their counterpart in the U.S. won theirs in 1920. Those who make a difference always desire and aim for things that are bigger than them and so could never be accomplished in their strength alone. They always recognise and acknowledge their need for others. “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” (Ecc. 4:9-10).
The list of the qualities is endless. People who will make a difference are people who have learnt to overcome their fears, their insecurities, their selfishness, their past, their inhibitions and limitations. They have learnt to overcome intimidation and condemnation; they have learnt to break through the barriers of race, colour, gender and culture to make a difference.
Those who make a difference have learnt to put their faith in the unseen God and His ability to help them. They have learnt to stay focussed and committed to their goals. They have also learnt to maintain a positive attitude. They are people of vision and purpose. They are determined not to give up until they win!