What can one person do? In the midst of this world, so vast and enormous in it's influence and sway … the weight of global suffering, poverty, hunger, disease epidemics, racism, bigotry, hatred, genocide. Can one person really make much of a lasting difference? How far can your efforts go?
We look back over the course of history and we see giants that made lasting differences, for good, and for bad: Hitler, Stalin, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Einstein, Newton, Muhammad, Mandela, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc … but in the slew of historical figures that changed the world around them … there is only one who has had the impact of Jesus. Only one who claimed to be God. Only one who rose from the dead. Only one who was The Truth (Jn 14:6).
So the next time I am concerned about how my efforts are really making a difference; say when I am concerned with another human being, their spiritual welfare, their physical well being, or meeting their needs and providing in some way for them … or the next time I am trying to end the plight of some suffering in myself or someone else, the next time I am mounting up against a tidal wave of hatred, oppression, and bondage in any form, I can know that there was one that has gone before me (Jn 14:1-4), who can relate to me (Heb 4:15-16). I can know that indeed I can make difference as He did (Jn 14:12) and that I can take heart amidst trouble (Jn 16:33).
The next time I am in an improvised country such as South Africa to lay a few measly coats of paint on the walls and hold a few children in my arms, or the next time I am in an impoverished neighborhood around the corner from where I live to hand out toys or hugs, or the next time I am trying to mentor a teenager to not make some of the same mistakes that I made, I can remember that my Lord only had a relatively small number of followers trying to do what he was doing (Acts 1:15) after he spent himself for them. And yet, from that small number of people, thousands of years later, he has established the true power of One throughout the entire world, for all of time (Phil 2:9-11).
The power of one is found only in following The One.