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|Change The World One Life At A Time||
Several months ago a young boy approached me
as I sat watching a high school football game. "I really like you," he
said. I understood immediately that he had seen me on television and, by
his remark, enjoyed watching the program.
Michael told me that he was 9 years old and that he not only listened to the guests on Life Today, but also followed the various humanitarian outreaches in which we are engaged worldwide. I found that Michael was bright, enthusiastic, and uniquely in tune with the world around him. I also discovered that his parents had recently divorced and he lived with his mother.
Michael instantly reminded me of myself at his age. He exhibits many of the same qualities as me at a young age. Because of my childhood, I spent much of my life desperately needing to be encouraged and affirmed.
Wanting to give this young boy encouragement, I decided to stay in contact with Michael's family. This week, I brought him to the office for our staff chapel. He sat in the audience with more than 100 employees of Life Outreach International as I shared from my heart about the importance of making a difference in the lives of others. I then took him to lunch and home to visit with Betty and me. It proved very special to us all.
I have spent my life addressing large crowds. For two decades, I held "crusades," often in large outdoor stadiums, speaking to tens of thousands of people at a time. For another two decades, I have spoken to millions of people through our daily television show viewed on three continents.
Despite this global ministry, I have come to realize that even though we tend to measure success in large numbers, true success comes when we make a positive impact on a single person's life. If I can make a difference in Michael's life by spending a little time with him and imparting fatherly wisdom to him, I have succeeded in changing the world.
Many theologians and historians have noted the fact that Jesus Christ, whose life changed the entire world, invested the majority of His time and effort in the lives of just 12 men. That's a relatively small number of people compared to the millions his life has impacted in the 2,000 years since he walked the earth. Some of the most often shared stories referred to Jesus interacting with one person: the woman at the well, Zaccheus, Nicodemus, the woman about to be stoned after being caught in adultery and the thief on the cross.
People ask all the time, "What can I do to make the world a better place?" My answer is simple: Positively impact the life of one person. For those who are married, it starts with your spouse. For parents, it means being the primary positive influence on your children. From there, it moves into the community.
I believe it is significant that I did not encounter Michael in a church. It was in a football stadium. Most of the people who need someone to make a difference in their lives are not in the church. They are at work, in your neighborhood, at school, at the mall, at the grocery store and other overlooked places.
Once you impact someone's life in a positive way, you will find that you have inspired that person to make a difference in the life of another. It is in this way that one person can realistically affect the future.
So ask yourself, "How can I make a difference in someone's life?" Chances are, the opportunity will come along today or tomorrow. People with the need to be noticed, encouraged and loved are everywhere. Keep your eyes open, because if you are willing, you will be able to help change the world one life at a time.