First United Methodist Church

Service Times

9am Contemporary | 11am Traditional

Devotion from Steve Thomas (Oct. 6)

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Philippians 2:3 

How do we make a difference? How do we make the world a better place?

Personally, I have always believed that one person can make a positive difference if you try hard enough.

When I first left the military, I became a Quality Control Manager at a production facility. As my job title suggested, I was always looking for ways for our company to improve. One day I came home and told my wife, Mia, that I have come up with a new program. I was going to have everyone in the company wear a badge that said “MAD”. To which Mia asked me why I wanted everyone to be angry? Well, after the laughter subsided, I explained that “MAD” was an acronym for Make A Difference!

And what a difference the “MAD” program made. First the company’s production became more efficient as our employee strove to make a difference in their departments. This led to departments striving to improve more than the others. Even things like plant cleanliness became noticeable. Improved quality and Improved production led to happier employees, happier customers and better efficiency for our company. This one simple concept made a difference.

So how does “MAD” relate to us? Well biblically, there are plenty of examples of people making a difference: The Good Samaritan, Paul, Moses, Joseph and on and on. But one of my favorites comes from the Book of Esther. It is the account of a moment in the history of the Jewish people when they were able to turn the tables on those who wanted to destroy them. Here is a recap of the story:

Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, told her about the king’s edict to kill all the Jewish people. Esther, who was King Xerxes’ queen, feared for her life and tried to avoid his request to do something. Mordecai again pleaded with Queen Esther to do something to save the people. Esther responded by instructing all Jews to join her in fasting for three days and three nights, then she would approach the king with her request.

Esther went to King Xerxes after three days of fasting and the king asked her what her request was. Queen Ester asked that the king and Haman join her at a banquet the next day. The king said yes and asked Esther to let her request be known at the banquet. Haman was still so enraged with Mordecai that he went to set up a pole to impale Mordecai the morning before the banquet.

The king could not sleep that night and began to read the book that contained all that had happened during his reign. The king read and was reminded of how Mordecai exposed the plot to assassinate the king. The king wanted to reward Mordecai for his good deed and he called Haman in to ask what should be done for a man who the king delights in. Haman thought the king was talking about himself and responding saying extravagant gifts and honor.  Haman was even more enraged when the king told him it was for Mordecai!

The next day was the banquet Queen Esther had called for. The king again asked Esther what her request was so he could grant her what she wanted. Esther boldly asked that she and her people be spared and that Haman had plotted to kill all Jews for money. The king was filled with anger against Haman and granted Esther’s request.

Esther had suppressed the fear for her life and made a difference.

You know – We all have that same opportunity to make a difference. To do as Jesus has directed- to love one another.  To MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world. Re-read the verse from Philippians at the beginning of this devotional: “…regard one another as more important than yourselves” There lies the answer to HOW we can and should make a difference in our church, our communities and our world.

So, I will leave you with this thought from the movie Evan Almighty

How do we change the world? One Random Act of Kindness at a Time!

Be kind. That’s what I am going to do. I hope you do too.