I remember it like it was yesterday. I had preached my heart out at a rural church in a small town in Mississippi. In my sermon I had urged each person present to be the one to pray, give and be on mission both in their own community, and in Vermont, where I was serving as a church planting missionary. At the end of the sermon I asked that if anyone was willing to be the one to make such a commitment, for them to come down the aisle and tell me so during the closing hymn. Only one person responded. I can still see him in my mind making his way slowly down the aisle. He was an older gentleman with white hair and a cane. His name was Jim. When he got to where I was standing, he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I'm the one." He then put something in my pocket and slowly made his way back to his seat. Later that day, when I looked at the piece of paper he had put in my pocket, it was a check for $10,000 to the mission organization I was serving. That single check helped that organization share the Gospel with many people in Vermont for several months.
For the next 15 years Jim remained faithful in praying and giving. He kept my newsletters by his bedside and prayed through every prayer request multiple times. He often sent notes of encouragement or called on the phone just to lift my spirits with encouraging words. Jim also continued to give generously, often at great sacrifice. There were certain years in which he and his wife were the largest benefactors our small mission organization had. Many are now in the Kingdom of God due to Jim’s praying and giving.
One morning, the week before Easter, Jim’s wife Margie called. She said Jim would be spending Easter with Jesus that year. He had passed away the day before. Margie found great comfort in knowing that Jim had made a difference in the lives of others. We prayed and cried together over the phone, thanking God for Jim's life.
Jim answered the call of God to make a difference with his life. We may not all be able to do things exactly the same way that Jim did, but we can all do something to make a difference in the lives of others. We can pray. We can give. We can offer an encouraging word. We can make a difference in the lives of those around us. Let us determine to be the one.
Lord, help us be the ones who pray, give and go in Your name to make a difference in the world. Amen.