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­One person really can make a difference

Never underestimate the impact of one person when it comes to speaking up for Biblical principles. A story I once read about a 4th-century monk from Asia named Telemachus illustrates that impact.

One day, Telemachus felt the Lord was telling him to go to Rome.

Though he didn’t know why, the monk obeyed and began the long walk westward, arriving during a holiday festival.

Telemachus thought perhaps God had a special purpose for him at this particular time.

He followed the crowds into the Coliseum where gladiator contests were staged, something he had never heard of.

The monk realized the horrible violence that was about to begin when the gladiators shouted to the emperor, “We who are about to die salute thee.”

Crowds cheered as men killed each other for amusement.

Telemachus jumped to his feet to stop the savagery. “In the name of Christ, forbear!” he cried.

No one paid any attention. The monk ran down the stone steps and onto the sandy floor of the arena.

Telemachus came between the muscular gladiators. One hit him with his shield, shoving the monk to the ground. Telem-achus picked himself up and ran between the gladiators shouting again, “In the name of Christ, forbear!” He could not be silent. The crowd began to laugh and cheer on the monk, thinking he was part of the entertainment. Telemachus’ actions blocked the view of one of the contestants, who barely missed his opponent’s blow. Then the crowd turned against the monk, crying for his blood.

In an instant, a gladiator raised his sword and struck Telemachus, slashing down his chest and into his stomach. The monk gasped and weakly uttered his last words, “In the name of Christ, forbear!”

As the gladiators and the crowd looked at the little man’s body on the bloody sand, the arena grew deathly silent. A strange thing happened. Someone on the top row of the Coliseum got up and walked out; followed by another and another until all the spectators left the huge stadium.

History records that was the last day gladiator contests were fought to the death there. Because one man stood up for what was right, men never again killed each other for the crowd’s entertainment in the Coliseum.

One person can make a difference. With the issues and problems facing our country, you and I can speak up for Biblical principles. Whatever the cost, determine to make a difference. Who knows but that God may need your voice “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

Bible teacher Beth Moore has said, “Make no mistake. We are not powerless. We are not too remote and removed to make a difference.” Orator Edward Everett Hale made the statement, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

 

Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com.