Print/Download -- You Can Make a Difference by Marjorie Foerster Eddington
Just as Moses made a difference, you
can make a difference in your life, family, school,
church, community, and world! The world needs you -- your ideas, your compassion, and your spiritual
outlook. And, it's never too late to start contributing.
The best gifts are those from the heart.
The children of Israel were really just a HUGE family
as they wandered in the wilderness. They had their
doubts, their worries, their times of peace, their
times of conflict -- just as any family does. God
gave the Israelites everything they needed -- manna
(food) and water and protection. He gave them a contract
-- laws for governing themselves harmoniously, for
honoring God and each other. We're going to look at
3 of the Ten Commandments and see how they can help
us make a difference in our own and others lives.
The 2nd Commandment (Ex. 20:4-5):
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the
water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself
to them, nor serve them:
Let's think of idols in a different way. How much
time do you spend in front of the television? Are
you being influenced by ads in any way to change your
body, your clothes, your opinions? What about the
internet? chat rooms? video games?
- For one week (you may only need one day), keep
a journal of how you spend your time and what you
think about. In order for this to be helpful, you
have to be completely honest. And you can't change
your patterns or habits just to look better on paper.
You may want to make a spreadsheet or table with
different categories, such as TV, sports, entertainment,
social time, eating, family time, (homework if you
have school during the summer), God time (prayer,
study, reading the Bible). You can simply log your
- Then go back and read and evaluate your journal,
noting how you spend your time. Write down how the
week went -- what was good, what could've been better.
- Now, decide to put God first, to stop making other
things more important. This doesn't mean that you
stay home and study the Bible 100% of the time.
It just means that you really put God first.
- In order to find a balance, you may want to ask
God on every decision (even the little ones) whether
or not you should do something, and then obey His
- Do another journal for a week and see how your
life is different, how putting God first changes
- You can continue to keep a journal of your time
and thoughts or you can just continue to work on
making God first in your life. Remember, this takes
constant effort. But the effort is worth it!
The 3rd Commandment (Ex. 20:7):
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God
in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless
that taketh his name in vain.
How often do you hear or say, "Oh God?"
Decide to eliminate the saying, "Oh, God"
from your vocabulary. Just about everyone says it,
and yet, everyone who does is breaking the 3rd commandment.
And what is the last part of the commandment? "[T]he
Lord will not hold him guiltless." That's not
an encouraging thought!
You may want to make this a family "contest."
- Each of you should keep his or her own jar somewhere
central so everyone knows where it is.
- Decide what the penalty is going to be for saying
it each time -- 25 cents, $1 dollar, etc. (or maybe
it's not money).
- Each time someone says, "Oh God" or
"God damn it" or something to that effect,
he or she MUST put money into that jar or pay the
- See how much money is in that jar at the end of
the week. You can let the money add up for a month
or so if you want.
- You have to do something for the other members
of your family with that money -- buy ice cream,
take them out to dinner, buy movie tickets, do extra
work around the house, etc.
- Continue to do this until you are able to get
through a week without having any money in the jars.
While this may seem simple, it's a concrete way to
help you realize just how often you say or hear God's
name dishonored. And we want to honor God!
The 5th Commandment (Ex. 12):
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days
may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth
God is our ultimate Parent, and we need to remind
ourselves to honor God. One way of honoring God is
to appreciate our parents. They do so much for us,
often without thanks. Here are some ways to "honor"
- You can give your parents coupons that you make
redeemable whenever they want to redeem them for
various activities that you will do for them. Here
are some suggestions. You know what would make your
parents happy, so you'll have fun designing the
- Make dinner.
- Baby-sit your younger sibling(s) so your parents
can go out for the evening.
- Clean the house by yourself.
- Help them with their work.
- Do your chores before you're asked.
- Set aside time to play games or spend time with
- Do a project for your family:
- Is there a project your mom or dad always
wanted done and has never had the time to do
it -- cleaning out the garage? cleaning out
the closets? putting pictures in an album? making
shelving in closets? tiling the bathroom? planting
a garden? changing the landscape around the
house? painting the rooms? making a dog house?
getting pictures framed? Summer is a great time
to do projects! It's not just a time to make
money for yourself or hang out with your friends
at the beach or pool.
- Decide when you're going to do the project.
Be the motivator or the leader.
- If you need or want their input, then ask.
Sometimes parents have specific ideas for what
they want. And you may not have the money to
buy the materials, depending on the project.
But, if possible, you could do a project as
- Free up your schedule and commit yourself
to doing whatever needs to be done.
- Listen to your parents. Don't pretend to listen,
- Decide to make a Parent Day (not Mother's Day
or Father's Day). Tell them to pick a day, and you
will do whatever they want. It could be that they
want to go to the beach or go play tennis or just
relax at home without any interruptions. It could
be that they want to spend time with you. Whatever
it is, make it happen. It could mean telling your
friends you can't do anything with them that day.
(This could also be a coupon.)
Enjoy honoring God and those around you!