Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Power of One

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Big Numbers

It’s hard to understand the utility of one when we are used to really big numbers.

Katy Perry has over 52,000,000 Twitter followers.

Last year Oprah Winfrey made over $77,000,000.

The U.S. national debt is $17,571,336,985,313.33.

In our world, 1,400,000,000 people live in poverty, 842,000,000 live in hungry, and 35,000,000 live with HIV/AIDS.

And don’t forget about the 153,000,000 orphans in the world.

photo by Alexis Gravel

photo by Alexis Gravel (creative commons license)

The numbers, especially for those of us who have never liked math, can take our breath away. What does it mean for nearly a billion be to live in hunger? What does it mean for so many kids to be without a family? How can that many people actually be interested in what Katy Perry has to say?

When we are faced with such big numbers, the numbers lose their effect. How can I possibly make a difference when the problem is so big? How can my efforts matter when there is so much need?

I am only one, how can I really make an impact?

What You Can Do

You can’t. You won’t be able to. Your greatest effort isn’t enough. Your largest financial contribution won’t even come close. There is too much need. There is too much to do.

You can’t solve the problems for everyone. But you can make the world a better place for one.

If we let ourselves get caught up in the numbers, we are easily overwhelmed and confused. And then we easily give up. We let ourselves off the hook. Why try when it doesn’t matter?

But you do matter. And what you choose to do matters. Especially when you understand the power of one.

You can change one person’s life. You can do more for a single person. You can believe that one person matters, and then you can do something to make them feel like they matter.

  • You can sponsor one kid through a program such as World Vision.
  • You can donate to a group such as Half the Sky who is busy helping orphans in China.
  • You can write one thank you note.
  • You can smile one extra time today.
  • You can give up one small thing so that you have more to give to those who have need.

I’ve heard Andy Stanley put it this way.

Do for one what you wish you can do for everyone.

Love is a Virus

When we choose to love using the power of one, something happens that is more powerful than our efforts. Something bigger happens than the value of what we contribute.

We make a difference for one.

That one person we influence learns the value of love. And we make it possible for them to love somebody else. And love will spread like a virus. Love will afflict us like the plague.

Love isn’t about big numbers or how far you influence reaches or about how many Facebook friends you have. Love is about one. One person. One moment. One gift.

What can you do for one?

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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4 Replies

  1. DanKnight

    When I have discussions with friends about their desire to see “the end of poverty”, I surprise them when I say: “Jesus doesn’t want the end of poverty.”

    I intentionally let that comment hang in the air to elicit a response, which predictably ranges from disagreement to disbelief to incredulity.

    But the fact is Jesus said that the “poor will always be with you”, for a two-fold purpose: Firstly, so that our focus needs to be on the right place before we engage in this effort. Our effort needs to come from a place of Love, not self.
    Secondly, to understand that the goal must never be to END poverty, but rather to help ONE in poverty.

    You are so bang on: we’ll never solve the problem for everyone, but we can make a significant, dare we say, LIFE-changing, impact for at least one.

    And that is the purpose of our lives: to grow in LOVE, to reach beyond ourselves and thru love, make a positive impact in the life of another.

    That is, afterall, what Jesus did!

  2. Dave

    Dan Knight, that is spot on! It’s impossible to solve a problem that Jesus (not just anyone) said would always be with us. I’d actually never thought of it that way even though I’ve read those words so many times.
    I want to help Deaf people, but I can’t help all of them. Next year, I will be making a difference for one, by pushing his wheelchair round Brighton Marathon (UK) and raising money for Deaf children to get a better life. God is working through me, and it is becoming a life-changing experience!

  3. DanKnight

    That is awesome that you’re not only helping raise money for the deaf, but also giving someone confined to a wheelchair the chance to engage in a marathon. Our son was mobility challenged before his passing, and before I took up running. Every race I’ve done there’s been at least one person doing what you’re going to do, and I see the look of excitement on the faces of those they are pushing….it makes me wish I had started running sooner, so I could have done likewise for Justin.

    Is there a website where you are collecting donations?

    Run Strong

  4. Dave

    That touched me deeply. I didn’t expect that sort of response. I’m sorry to hear about your son, Justin. Maybe there is someone else with whom you can run and make a difference for them?
    We have a just giving page:
    I try and post regular updates and photos.
    We are starting to build a Facebook page, if you’re on Facebook. And on that note, I would be delighted to keep in touch.

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