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Lessons from Home: Making a difference

By Rev. Ann Mann
annmann@comcast.net

Making a difference. A dear friend and member of a congregation I was serving gave me a medallion with an engraving of these words, “You are making a difference.” He had given one to each of his daughters, one a teacher, the other a nurse. He said he prayed these words would remind his daughters, and me, that we are all making a difference.

And it is so true. We all make a difference in our own unique way. In a world with so many challenges and uncertainties, people who are making a difference offer a beacon of hope. Matthew 5:16 reminds us to let our light shine before others, that they may see our works that glorify our Father in heaven.

But how can we, as individuals, embrace this call to make a difference? The answer lies in the everyday choices we make and the actions we take. Whether it’s volunteering our time, donating to a worthy cause or simply offering a listening ear to someone in need. Small acts of kindness can have a profound impact, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond our immediate sphere of influence.

I experienced the transformative power of a community making a difference when my husband died suddenly of a massive brain bleed. I had only lived in Barnesville six weeks. It could have been a dark and lonely time. But it was not. My church family, and my neighbors in the community reached out with countless acts of love and compassion. This community is making a difference in my life! It inspires me to show the same love and compassion to others.

Another poignant example of community solidarity emerged in response to a break-in at the facility housing tools for Rebuild Lamar, a local mission aiding families in need of home repairs. The swift mobilization of community members to replace the stolen tools and the subsequent recovery of the original equipment by authorities showcased the strength of collective action and solidarity.

Let us come together to identify pressing needs in our local communities and work in collaboration with others to address them. Whether through organized service projects, fundraising efforts, or advocacy campaigns, there are countless opportunities for us to join hands and make a meaningful difference in the world.

In the face of pressing needs in our communities, let us come together and work collaboratively to address them. Initiatives like Lamar Gives 365, where community resources are pooled together to support local agencies, exemplify the power of collective giving. Similarly, organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and Vacation Bible Schools provide invaluable opportunities for individuals to engage in meaningful service.

Yet, our journey toward making a difference is not just about outward action; it is also a path of inner transformation. As we extend compassion and love to others, we are reminded of our shared humanity and our inherent worth as children of God. In serving others, we also serve our Savior, cultivating a deeper sense of purpose and spiritual fulfillment. When we offer a blessing, we are the ones who are blessed.

Today, I invite you to answer the call to make a difference in your own life and the lives of others. Reflect on how you can align your actions with the values and teachings of your faith tradition. Step forward with courage and compassion, knowing that each act of kindness, no matter how small, has the power to ignite positive change in the world.

In a world hungry for hope and healing, let us be the light that guides the way. Together, let us embrace the call to make a difference, knowing that our collective efforts have the power to transform lives and shape a brighter future for generations to come. With every act of kindness and compassion, you are making a difference.

Ann Mann is an Emmy Award winning journalist, now serving as pastor to Barnesville First United Methodist Church.

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