God Wants To Use You To Make A Big Difference
Saint Telemachus, a fourth-century monk who lived in a monastery, felt God calling him to Rome. He couldn't figure out why God would want him in Rome, but he felt the pressure to go. Putting his possessions in a little satchel, he threw the bag over his shoulder and started out over the dusty, westward roads to Rome.
When he got to Rome, people were running about the city in great confusion. He had arrived on a day when the gladiators were going to fight both other gladiators and animals in the amphitheater. Everyone was heading to the amphitheater to watch the entertainment.
Telemachus thought this must be why God had called him to Rome. He walked into the amphitheater. He sat down among 80,000 people who cheered as the gladiators came out proclaiming, "'Hail Caesar! We die to the glory of Caesar."
The little monk thought to himself, Here we are, four centuries after Christ, in a civilized nation, and people are killing one another for the entertainment of the crowd. This isn't Christian!
Telemachus got up out of his seat, ran down the steps, climbed over the wall, walked out to the center of the amphitheater, and stood between two large gladiators. Putting his hands up, he meekly cried out, "In the name of Christ, stop!" The crowd laughed and jeered. One of the gladiators slapped Telemachus in the stomach with his sword and sent him spinning off into the dust.
Telemachus got up and again stood between the two huge gladiators. He repeated, "In the name of Christ, stop." This time the crowd chanted "Run him through!" One of the gladiators took his sword and ran it through Telemachus's stomach. He fell into the dust and the sand turned red as blood ran out of him. One last time, Telemachus weakly cried out, "'In the name of Christ, stop." He died on the amphitheater floor.
The crowd grew silent, and within minutes they emptied out of the amphitheater. History records that, thanks to Saint Telemachus, this was the last gladiatorial contest in the history of the Roman Empire.
Saint Telemachus changed the course of history. So can you. God loves to use one person to make a big difference in the world--and God wants to use you.
The best example we have is when God sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. One man made the greatest difference in the history of the world. God still works through individuals to accomplish His will. Will you be the one He uses next?
Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks
Wayne Rice, Zonderzan, pp. 195-197.
We Can't Sit Around Any Longer
Larry was a truck driver, but his lifelong dream was to fly. When he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately, poor eyesight disqualified him. So when he finally left the service, he had to satisfy himself with watching others fly the fighter jets that crisscrossed the skies over his backyard. As he sat there in his lawn chair, he dreamed about the magic of flying.
Then one day, Larry Walters got an idea. He went down to the local army-navy surplus store and bought a tank of helium and forty-five weather balloons. These were not your brightly colored party balloons, these were heavy-duty spheres measuring more than four feet across when fully inflated.
Back in his yard, Larry used straps to attach the balloons to his lawn chair, the kind you might have in your own back yard. He anchored the chair to the bumper of his jeep and inflated the balloons with helium. Then he packed some sandwiches and drinks and loaded a BB gun, figuring he could pop a few of those balloons when it was time to return to earth.
His preparations complete, Larry Walters sat in his chair and cut the anchoring cord. His plan was that after he enjoyed some flying time to lazily float back down to earth. But things didn't quite work out that way.
When Larry cut the cord, he didn't float lazily up; he shot up as if fired from a cannon! Nor did he go up a couple hundred feet. He climbed and climbed until he finally leveled off at eleven thousand feet! At that height, he could hardly risk deflating any of the balloons, let he unbalance the load and really experience flying! So he stayed up there, sailing around for fourteen hours, totally at a loss as to how to get down.
Eventually, Larry drifted into the approach corridor for Los Angeles International Airport. A Pan Am pilot radioed the tower and told the air traffic controller that he had just passed a guy in a lawn chair at eleven thousand feet who had a gun in his lap.
Eventually, a Navy helicopter dropped a rescue line over Larry, and gradually hauled him back to earth. As soon as Larry hit the ground, he was arrested. But as he was being led away in handcuffs, a television reporter called out, "Mr. Walters, why'd you do it?" Larry stopped, eyed the man, then replied nonchalantly, "A man can't just sit around."
Larry's statement has a message for us. We can not sit around any longer. We need to get out of our comfort zone and go make a difference in the lives of others.
Stories For The Heart
Alice Gray, Multnomah, pp. 99-100.
Woman Who Made A Difference
In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison. No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time. But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution. Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes. But when he was asked about the transformation, here's what he said: "I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls."
Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden. Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn't stop Catherine! When the first prison basketball game was held, she went…walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids and she sat in the stands with the inmates.
Her attitude was: "My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me! I don't have to worry!"
She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records. She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit. Holding his hand in hers she said, "Do you read Braille?" "What's Braille?" he asked. Then she taught him how to read. Years later he would weep in love for her.
Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison. She went to school to learn how to use sign language. Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937.
Then, she was killed in a car accident. The next morning Lewis Lawes didn't come to work, so the acting warden took his place. It seemed almost instantly that the prison knew something was wrong.
The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison. As the acting warden took his early morning walk he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest-looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate. He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness. He knew how much they loved Catherine. He turned and faced the men, "All right, men, you can go. Just be sure and check in tonight!" Then he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes, a woman who made a difference. And every one of them checked back in. Every one!
Stories For The Heart
Alice Gray, Multnomah, pp. 54-55.