Thursday, March 1, 2012

Making a Difference is Easier than Scratching a Lotto Ticket

Have you ever stopped and thought, “Do I make a difference in the world?” It sometimes can be very ethereal and far removed because we can often think, “The world is such a big place. How could I possibly change it?”

I was walking down the street and there was an older man sitting at a bus stop. As I went by I noticed that he was scratching off lottery tickets, the big, card type. He had a thick stack of them and after he’d scratch one off, he would chuck it into the street. The street was littered with about 20-30 big lottery cards. I walked on by, not sure what to say. I got about a half block away and thought, “He must really be hurting and missing something deep down.”

I then heard a still, small whisper inside of my brain, “Go talk to him.”

“No!” I reacted. “How awkward!”

However I debated for a little while and finally went back. “Wow, you must be rich!” I kidded.

“Is it a crime to have money?!” he shot back at me. I thought about saying, “No, but littering is,” but I didn’t. I didn’t know what to say. I just said something like I wanted to let you know that God cares about you and loves you.

“God doesn’t exist,” he retorted.

“Yes, God does exist”, I explained. “He told me to come talk to you, and I didn’t want to. I told Him no, but He persisted.” He went on to tell me that he can give me three good reasons why God doesn’t exist… He then named three Latin-American countries. We talked for a little while longer and it was obvious he couldn’t be reasoned with, but I was glad that I had talked to him and at least attempted to brighten his day leaving him with a “have a good day”.

The world is hurting. Maybe instead of “How do I change the world?” the question we should ask ourselves is, “How do I make a difference in someone’s life today?”

At the end of the day, we can ask things like, “Did I make a difference in someone’s life today? Did I show them love? Did I make them laugh? Did I comfort them? Did I rejoice when something good happened to them?”

Even if they reject our love or comfort, did we show compassion to the best of our ability?

Oftentimes it is hard because the world can also be appalling. A car next to me at a stop light was blasting rap music and the chorus of the song was, “You want child support? Pull it out of your a**, b****! You want child support? Pull it out of your a**, b****!” As catchy as choruses are, that was running through my head for the drive home unfortunately.

Now, I like rap music, so I’m not attacking the music, but it is insane the thoughts we as a society have and decide to dwell on. Thoughts of anger and hatred lead to heartache which lead to more anger and hatred which lead to more heartache, and so the cycle goes.

The only way the world can change is if we start small and say, “How do I make a difference in someone’s life today?”


  1. That's a great story! i had a similar thing happen, well entirely different, but the same in the sense that God told me to talk to someone I had zero desire to talk to and it was incredibly awkward. So, I went to Ralphs the other day and I saw this homeless man and I had $5 and I felt the urge to give it to him. Perhaps God's whisper? And a lot of times I do give a dollar or so to a homeless person, but for whatever reason that morning, I was like "if i gave money to every single homeless person i saw in LA, that would be a TON of money, I can't, blah blah" so I did not. THEN on my way to work I saw him on Ventura Blvd with his shopping cart etc and I had the urge to pull over and give him money. Again I was like "if I pulled over every time I saw a homeless person, I'd never get anywhere and I'd be out of money" so again, I ignored the whisper. THEN several hours later I went into McDonalds to grab a coffee (MILES AWAY from where I'd last seen him) and THERE HE WAS!!! so im like "ok, God has now given me THREE chances to help this guy, how dumb am I?!" SO I walked up to him and I was like "do you want some lunch?" He gave me a death stare. Went and sat down far away from me and waited until I left to order. I know this because I looked behind me as I left to see what he would do. SO, his shopping cart was outside with all of his stuff, so i just put the money I should have given him all along inside the cart. Whewww! Thank GOD for 2nd, 3rd, millionth chances to obey! Needless to say I was embarrassed when he completely brushed me off, but in moments like that, its NOT about ME, ya know? Just do what you're freaking told, end of story.

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