Can One Person Really Make a Difference????

(Information of this essay comes from the following sources: sermon One Person Can Make A Difference by Dean Morgan printed on the website, pages from the websites,, the book Letting God by A. Philip Parham)

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In our search for meaning, we question whether or not we each can make a difference?  We see successful stories thinking that those things happened by a group of people, not by just one individual.

But, in reality, many things all around us were the brain child of one individual. Or they were started by one and, eventually, snowballed involving others.

As President John F. Kennedy once said:  It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little. Do what you can! One person can make a difference and every person should try.

Heres a short list of items where one person made that difference!!

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If you think your vote doesn’t count, think again:


In 1654, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England;

In 1649, one vote caused Charles 1 of England to be executed;

In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German;

In 1839, one vote elected Marcus Morton governor of Massachusetts;

In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the union;

In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment;

In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic;

In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the United States presidency;

In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler control of the Nazi party;

In 1941, one vote saved the selective Service System just 12 weeks before Pearl Harbor!


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Some historical people who made a difference:


Abraham Lincoln overcame many setbacks to become the most influential American president. He helped bring about the abolishment of slavery.


Jesus Christ taught a message of love, forgiveness and faith. After his crucifixation, his message inspired millions around the world.


Marie Curie. Her discoveries with radiation helped advance medical science. She was awarded 2 Nobel Peace Prizes – one for chemistry and one for physics.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his non violent civil rights movement. Inspired millions of people, black and white, to aspire for a more equal society.


Leonardo da Vinci made great advances in anatomy, astronomy, physics, science and others. Painted the most iconic picture in history –The Mona Lisa.


Helen Keller, both deaf and blind, learned to read and write and became a champion of social issues, helping to improve the welfare of deaf people.


Rosa Parks, a fighter for civil rights, defied the law when, in the 1950s, she refused to give up her seat in the colored section on a bus to a white passenger after the white section was filled.


Mother Teresa lived a life of poverty to try to better the conditions of others.


Martin Luther was the most influential figure in the reformation of the sixteenth century. He challenged the excesses of the Catholic Church leading to the protestant movement, forcing the Catholic Church to reinvigorate itself.


St. Francis of Assisi founded new order committed to essence of Christian gospels. Pope Francis took his name from him.


Jesse Owens, who won 4 gold medals at Hitlers 1936 Olympics in Berlin, helped to puncture the Nazi ideology of Aryan Supremacy.


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If you think that one person cannot make a difference, think about how poor we would be if these creative people hadn’t existed? 

Just a few names:

Writers like William Shakespeare – the King of English literature, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, Neil Simon.


Directors Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, John Ford


Composers like Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach and modern day composers like Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, Brian Wilson of The  Beach Boys


Artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, Michelangelo


Inventors and their inventions: Thomas Edison (light bulb), Alexander Graham Bell (telephone), James Naismith (basketball),  Louis Braille (Braille writing system), Samuel Morse (telegraph), John Harvey Kellogg (cornflake breakfasts), John Pemberton (Coca Cola)


Imagine a world without these peoples writings, movies, art or their inventions.


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They turned a tragedy into something positive:

Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor, wrote the best seller Mans Search For Meaning


Nelson Mandela campaigned for justice and freedom in his South Africa. He healed the wounds of Apartheid after more than 20 years in jail


Anne Frank, a teenage girl, a victim of the Nazi Holocaust, became a symbol of how ordinary people get caught up in mans inhumanity. But despite the most testing of conditions, she retained an optimistic spirit.


 And the countless charities and social causes, started by one person, that were developed because of tragedies.

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If you think you have to be famous to make a difference, think again:

St. Therese Lisieux, a Carmelite nun, unknown to the world. After her death at 24, her writings had a profound effect. She taught do the smallest acts with love.


 Sophie Scholl (1921- 1943) a German student who took part in the non violent resistance to Hitler and the Nazi party. She was later executed for treason and became an important symbol of German resistance to Hitler.

Malala Yousafzai, the  Pakistani schoolgirl who defied threats of the Taliban to campaign for the right to education. She survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, and has become a global advocate for human rights, women rights and the right to education.

The woman who couldn’t afford the $5 service charge. I received an e-mail about a young woman who was about to be charged an extra $5 by the Bank of America every time she used her debit card. Since she was unable to afford the fee, she started a petition. She got 20,000 signatures. The bank heard about this and did not charge her the extra $5 or to the other customers.

I`m sure there are many individuals who legally fought back about some unfairness, some injustice. In many cases, it started with one, and, then, it “snowballed“ into something greater.


Finally,  the church with no electricity. Theres a church is Switzerland with no electricity. Parishioners and clergy light candles to light the church for their evening service. The more people that show up, the greater the brightness.