Just One Life

November 10, 2012

by Maria Fontaine

This is a different article than those that I usually place on the DC site. In most cases, the materials that are posted here are directed toward our members. But in the spirit of the Christmas season and the fact that it is a wonderful opportunity to emphasize the love and gifts that Jesus offers us, I felt that this simple message might be a useful tool that you could share with others as you feel led. It’s also a good reminder to all of us of just how crucial His sacrifice for us is to our lives.

Do you ever ask yourself, “What can I do that will change this world for the better? How can I make a positive impact on others? What meaning can my life have in the context of the world and mankind? For my life to actually matter, do I have to do something truly earthshaking? How much difference can one life make in a world of billions?”

Here’s an account of one man’s life which began in obscurity, was lived without power or popularity as man measures it, and was terminated ignominiously. Yet this one life brought something extraordinary into this world.

He was born in an obscure hill town in a small Mideastern country. In early childhood his family had to flee as refugees from political injustice and attempted infanticide.[1]

The son of a manual laborer,[2] he showed little promise of greatness. He had no opportunity for higher education as we know it, never learned anything about technology, never even possessed a TV, a computer, cell phone, or mp3 player. There is no record of him owning a home or even any form of transportation.

In his thirties he was living hand to mouth,[3] wandering from town to town, never going more than 100 miles from where he grew up. Yet his deep and caring love for mankind inspired a small group of others to travel with him to learn more.[4] He often spent his time around social outcasts and the seamier side of society.[5]

For a period of three years he managed to gather some crowds through the use of what some called miracles. But false charges[6] that he associated with suspected terrorist elements seeking to overthrow the government, and accusations that he was claiming to be the king of his own nation resulted in his arrest, torture, and subsequent execution[7] at the behest of some influential enemies.

His friends and associates claimed that the charges were trumped up and that the whole incident had been a conspiracy by top religious and political elements to discredit what they saw as their competition, but none were ever brought to justice for what happened.

His life on this earth ended as it had been lived: focused on giving all that he had in order to rescue others. From a life of obscurity, poverty, and oppression, he showed that the simple truth was greater than the greatest intellect. Through his love and care for the weakest and neediest, he proved that power and wealth were truly weak and worthless unless used for God.

Instead of his death being the end of an obscure life, his subsequent resurrection triggered a kind of uprising in the hearts of men, a revolution of freedom and truth and mercy[8] that the armies of the earth throughout history have been unable to crush, that the superpowers have been powerless to suppress, and that the deceits of greed, malice, and hatred have never been able to silence.

The attempt to stifle his voice by a torturous and brutal death was futile. It has burst out in the voices of those whose lives down through the ages have been transformed by the truth he gave and the spirit he provided and the love he instilled in their hearts. What he gave to those who chose to live the example he set has proven to be greater than all the forces that have tried to prevent it spreading throughout the earth.

The result: All the powers that have tried to sway this world throughout history, all the wealth of nations and influence of kings and queens, czars and emperors, presidents and dictators, and all the revolutions and wars combined have failed to have as great an impact on the lives and hearts of mankind as this one extraordinary life.[9]

How could this one life, lived two thousand years ago, continue to have such a monumental effect on the world to this very day? Because this was the life of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, whose purpose in coming to earth was to help us understand what the nature of God is.

“For God loved each one of us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God sacrificed His Son, and Jesus sacrificed His life in payment for our sins to show us the love and mercy of God. Jesus rose from the dead to offer us the chance to return to the full relationship with God that sin had severed. Receiving this gift is as simple as the simplicity of that life that provided it. It is yours to accept by allowing His love to become a part of your life now and in the life to come.

That seemingly insignificant life that had little to offer, according to how man judges things, possessed the ability to change the world through the lives of His followers and to change the hearts of billions down through the centuries.

You ask, how will this help me to make a difference in this world? The answer is that He has provided a way for His followers to carry on His legacy. He can empower you with His Spirit and work through you to continue His mission of changing lives. If you are His follower, you can continue to change the world through Him. His mission can become your mission. Having His Spirit working through you to change the hearts and lives of others brings lasting change—change that life’s troubles cannot take away.

You might not get to see the outward results in every person, but as you do your part to share the love and purpose you have found with all who will receive it, you will know that this world is a better place because you’ve been here.

[1] Matthew 2:13–23.

[2] Matthew 13:55.

[3] Matthew 8:20.

[4] Matthew 10:2–4.

[5] Mark 2:16, Matthew 9:10, Luke 15:1.

[6] Matthew 26:60–61; 27:18, 40; Mark 14:56, 58, 62–64; Luke 23:2, 5, 10, 14; John 19:7, 12.

[7] John 19:1–16, Luke 22:63–65, Luke 23:2–5, Isaiah 53:9.

[8] John 8:32.

[9] Adapted from the essay “One Solitary Life” by Dr. James Allan Francis, 1926.