The Power of One
hristopher Columbus is a name that has inspired generations. Just over 500 years ago when most, if not all the world believed the world was flat, Columbus had the audacity to claim that the world was round and that you could reach east by sailing west. He wanted to prove his point but Portugal rejected him and his idea.
He went to Spain and for years battled to gain an audience with Queen Isabella. As Win Arn wrote, "She and her husband, Ferdinand, had their hands full carrying on a war with the Moors. She hardly needed a crazy sailor to tell her one could go east by sailing west. Eventually, when he received his hearing and explained the need for money, ships, and supplies, the queen did what many "leaders" do today, she appointed a committee. For five years the committee studied Columbus' proposal and finally returned with their consensus: "The idea is impossible."
"Finally Isabella, wanting to rid herself of this self-appointed explorer, gave Columbus what he needed to make the trip."1
So Columbus sailed west with his three small ships, the Pinta, the Nina, and the Santa Maria. Could you imagine the terror his sailors must have felt when week after week they sailed into the unknown not knowing when they would drop off the edge of the earth! The best minds of the day and most of the population believed that this would happen. It would have been terrifying enough in the day, but how must they have felt at night? Did Columbus ever doubt his conviction? Did he ever wonder if he had made a gigantic miscalculation? Did he ever think that he might have been crazy? Probably. At one point his sailors rebelled but Columbus stayed with his dream and pressed on. In 1492 Columbus discovered America and the rest is history!
What started as a one-woman
crusade to save other children from
and other parents from pain
evolved into an organization
of thousands of volunteers.
Columbus was one man who made a difference. Another person who has made a difference is Candy Lighter, founder of MADDóMothers Against Drunk Drivers. Candy's life was shattered when her young teenage daughter was killed in 1980 by a hit-and-run drunk driver who happened to be free on bail from another hit-and-run drunk driving accident only two days earlier.
Candy "was not only crushed by her daughter's death but outraged when she learned that nothing had been done to keep the offender off the streets. What started as a one-woman crusade to save other children from death and other parents from pain has evolved into an organization of thousands of volunteers. Both men and women are educating, working, supporting victims and above all, saving lives."2
The laws MADD have fought to have changed have been credited with saving thousands of livesóbecause of one woman's vision and determination! Candy is one woman who made a difference.
Think, too, of women like Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa, and men like Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Walt Disney who went bankrupt seven times and had a nervous breakdown before he became successful.
Thousands of unsung heroes throughout history, even though they never became famous or received recognition, have made a difference to their world. With God's help you and I can, too. We don't have to be rich or famous, talented, or good looking if we want God to use us. We just need to be available.
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