Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Power of One Individual and God

Can one person make a difference? I am convinced one person with God can. It is easy, in our structured and impersonal society, to see ourselves as insignificant. But is this the correct perspective? We see in Scripture repeatedly that one individual called by God is significant. There were Abraham, Moses, David, and the various prophets, who made a difference. The Lord Jesus Christ is, of course, a special case, being the God-Man, but He made all the difference. Also He started out with a few very imperfect people: Peter, John, Paul, and the rest of of the apostles, and they changed the world. Sometimes we can build a stained-glass barrier and relegate such things to Biblical times. But in church history, the pattern continues.

Athanasius stood for the truth that Jesus is God against those who saw Him as just the greatest of all created beings. He did this against pressure from the government, through a series of exiles, but His view was ultimately re-affirmed as the correct teaching. Patrick went back to a people that had enslaved him and converted, not just the Irish, since they sent out preachers to convert other peoples and stir up nominal Christians. Martin Luther, though an obscure monk, started the Protestant Reformation, which restored the teaching of salvation by grace through faith. John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield were involved in large revivals that had massive effects in England and what was to be the United States. William Carey started the modern missionary movement. Granted, all these had help, but they were crucial for bringing about these events. And God shows a pattern of starting out with one or a few people to accomplish great things.

Now my point is not to claim that if we have not accomplished some great thing we are not really following God. I am convinced many of these things depended on God bringing the right person to the right place at the right time to accomplish His purpose. My point is rather that God can bring about His purposes, whether big or small. Therefore, we should go forth confidently, knowing we can make a difference. We should not see ourselves as vanishing in the great crowd of people and never doing anything because we feel unimportant. We need to trust God to show us what He wants us to do. But we can do it with confidence, even if we do not see immediate results. 


  1. Moses' legacy was entrusted to one man - Joshua. Jesus' legacy was entrusted to many. We all look for a man to lead us when God wants us to work as a body. Sadly, many still want a leader instead of the Leader.

    1. My point in this post was not at all that we need a "leader". Most of the the people I mentioned were obscure men who made a difference, not because they were leaders or celebrities, but because they did the right thing and inspired others to do the same. In many cases they had to fight against those officially in leadership to make themselves heard. My whole point is that ordinary people can make a difference and do not have to wait for society or those in leadership to do something.