As one ages, it becomes important to leave a legacy. I want to leave a mark on this earth that is positive, inspiring and uplifting to others. When I’m gone, I want people to be left with something that they want to achieve themselves as a result of hearing me, reading my writings, being coached by me or knowing me through the ministry God has entrusted to me.
For you and whatever your season in life, you are probably wanting something similar. To leave your mark and a beautiful aroma of God in and on your life. Life however, can get in the way of this desire – navigating and juggling kids, their activities, work, health, career, finances and balancing the budget. Especially these days when interest rates are high and personal income is stretched. All our life activities, even good ones, take something from us whilst they deposit things too. But we can feel depleted by the effort, just to get through another day. We can feel like we don’t have much to offer others and that making a difference is just too much effort.
Thankfully, we have a big God who equips us with all that we need, those gifts, talents, finances, power and of course His Word, to do all He’s called us to do.
‘…that the man of God, may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.’
2 Timothy 2:17 NKJV
So what can you and I do, even in the challenges of our everyday busyness? Well, we can make a difference in many ways and here are a few to hopefully inspire you that may not be too difficult to achieve. The key is knowing that God is with you, He has equipped you and He will empower you as you follow His leading.
Firstly, you can make a difference with your money. It doesn’t take a lot, remember the widow who gave two mites.
'...and he saw also a certain poor widow, putting in two mites. So he said, Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.'
Luke 21:2-4 NKJV
Buying a cup of coffee for someone or purchasing a small card with some lovely words to give away, will absolutely bless the receiver. By using your money as a resource, that has been given by God, to share and to bless (whenever and wherever you feel led) is a mindset that trusts Him. A friend and my first mentor, Michelle Sanders, who is now with the Lord, used to often pay for other people’s food in the McDonald’s drive-through queue. People who would never know who gave to them as by then she had driven away. Whatever your financial ability, be it small or large, from a few dollars to a few hundred, remember that God, not money itself, is the Provider. He is your Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides (Genesis 22:14).
My son and his wife have seen the benefits of using their money as a tool from God’s hand. Gary Keesee’s teaching has impacted and educated them in the way they manage their money for the kingdom of God. They have learned to put aside money on top of their tithes as an offering and each month look for ways to bless others. Over time they have gradually increased their giving budget. They are also honest with every cent in their workplaces and other. As a result, they have been blessed by God time and time again in their income and lifestyle, living in Europe and travelling the world.
Another way you can make a difference is by giving of yourself – by being real, being you. Authentic without pretence. People appreciate reality and can see past a false persona or façade. As a Christian, I try to do this by bringing my faith in a natural and normal way into all my conversations with others and I'm told by various friends, who are not Christ followers, that's what they love that about me. I firmly believe that the gospel message, as we declare ourselves to be followers of Jesus, can be preached through our words, mixed with our lives, to speak a million truths.
‘he who walks with integrity walks securely…’ Proverbs 10:9 NKJV
You and I can also make a big difference with our usage of time. Spending that five minutes with others to just listen and empathise has made me a few friends over the years at my local Coles supermarket. At the self-check-out, you can have quite long conversations, I've found. One lady, who when she lost her elderly mother and was struggling with loss, I simply listened to her pain. This lovely lady was then there for me when my mother passed. Your neighbours, work colleagues, fellow students, family and friends – all need a little bit of your time. I understand that when you don’t have much, (I get it, I don’t have much surplus right now) it’s difficult to give what you don’t possess. But, by finding a way to have a five minute phone chat or send a text or a card; whatever it takes, to give a little bit of yourself in a moment, will make someone else's day better.
How about our God-given talents? What gifts has God given you? Those talents, strengths or abilities that you might even take for granted? Can you offer these to others in need? Can you help someone make a meal? Or a young person in need of a job, prepare a resume? What is it that you find easy, that someone else needs? If you’re good at technology, a lot of people in my age bracket could use your help, just answering a few questions about how to do something on a smart phone. I know that this would indeed bless a baby boomer who struggles with how to navigate technology. Would you consider making a list of people who need what you have as an offering to one person, monthly, weekly or whatever your abilities and time allows? Something small could make a huge impact on another person’s life.
And last, but not least, you can make a huge difference by your prayers. The best book I have ever read on praying for others was written by Alice Smith about intercessory prayer called Beyond the Veil. I strongly recommend it to you if you feel called to pray for others. Lifting someone up in prayer, at the time you think of them, for even just a few seconds can change the trajectory of their lives. Just recently, I felt to pray for an important person in the Australian community, that a family member knows well. I also got a picture or a word of knowledge for them which I passed onto that family member. I felt that this person required ongoing prayer so I continued to intercede for many hours as well as my precious prayer team who prayed at my request. After many hours, I felt a release. At this point in time, I don’t know what happened or what was happening but on the other side of Heaven, I hope to find out. Nevertheless, I trust God enough to know there was a purpose in that intercession and He was entrusting me to carry out His request and purpose in their battle.
I believe that our prayers are powerful, so may I suggest to make them count and follow through when God leads us to pray for others.
‘…the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’
James 5:16 NKJV
In conclusion, you can make a difference! You really can. Be yourself; be generous with your time, finances and gifts. You really can make the world a better place as you overflow with the love, grace and message of our wonderful Saviour, Jesus Christ.
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