The Power of One

Bible Book: 1 Samuel  17 : 33
Subject: Significance; Dedication

Can one person really make a difference in this world? Can you serve as a mighty force for God as one individual? I want us to see today how one person makes a great impact and exactly how you can ensure that your life really counts for Christ.

Let me begin by telling you of an incident out of youth and how I learned that one person really matters. It was 1954 and my father had decided to take a vacation at an unusual time of year. He took vacations in the spring and summer, but that year he said he was going to take a week off in the fall. I was very excited, because the reason my dad was taking that autumn vacation was to spend the time with me. You see, he and I had a favorite baseball team and that team was going to be in the fall classic, the World Series. The week finally arrived and we settled in front of the TV, snacks abounding, with orders not to disturbed by anyone. We were going to watch our team trounce the opposition. After all, our team had won 105 games and only lost 50 in the entire season! And that was in day when the season was shorter than it is now. Furthermore, there were less teams playing, meaning that the competition was more intense.

The first game began with much fanfare, but it ended in a surprise. The upstart underdogs had pulled off an upset and defeated our team in the first game of the World Series. How dare them do a thing like that! That just meant our team, the favorite team, would show no mercy come tomorrow. In fact, my dad and I had decided that just because the opposing team had embarrassed our team, that we would take even greater joy in watching the underdogs lose the next four in a row.

The second day dawned bright and sunny. Alas, it ended with us hanging over our heads. Fall was quickly becoming winter at our house. The underdogs had done it again. Game three was no different How could this be? The unbeatable team had been beaten three games in a row. My dad was not very happy by this time. At my urging he had taken a precious vacation, because I had assured him it would be fun to watch the weak and hapless National League team be smashed like a pumpkin dropped from a 50 story building by the Cleveland Indians.

Still, I had not lost hope. My team might well come from behind, win four in a row and shock the world. In fact, in my childish ten year old mind, I began to believe that maybe that is just what they had planned all the time. Game four started and ended. The mighty Casey had struck out. It was like a funeral at my house. I will never forget the feeling of defeat my little heart endured that day. And my dad’s big heart didn’t seem be fairing much better. Until my dad’s death in 1999, we discussed that World Series in 1954 with the same shock and disappointment we felt when our team, the sports writer’s favorite team, lost the World Series.

I tried to assess what caused the team that was supposed to be one of the greatest teams to every take the field to lose that 1954 series. How could they lose to a lesser opponent, and especially lose four straight? My theory is simple but it has changed the way I look at life. You see, there was one man on that opposing team who turned the entire season around. He was not famous, at least not yet. He was a mere rookie. He ran, hit and caught balls in center field that no human being should have been able to get to. His name was Willie Mays. He literally carried the New York Giants on his shoulders as they defeated the Cleveland Indians in the World Series of 1954.

What lesson did I learn? The power of one! The power of one person to turn the tide, to baffle the prognosticators, to stir the hearts of those around him is something we need to remember in our walk with Christ. If one baseball player can make such a difference in a World Series, what can God do with one person fully yielded to Him!

We see this is a more formidable way in the exploits of a young Bible personality. His name is David. A trip to carry food to his brothers, who were out on the battle field in a war, changed his life and that of his entire country. He proved that day the power of one! You know the story well. David was sent to the battle line established between the Philistines and the Israelites to carry food to his Israelite brothers. When he arrived, he discovered the entire army of the Israelites, the people of God, hunkered down in fox holes trembling in fear. The problem? A giant of a man named Goliath stood on the Philistine side taunting Saul and the Israelites, and he was mocking God. I don’t need to belabor the story, you know what happened. David went out to face the giant. He took five smooth stones from a stream, put one in his sling, hurled it at the giant and brought him down with a mighty thud. He took the sword of the giant, cut off his head, rallied the Israelite soldiers and routed the entire army of the Philistines that day.

Of course, there are some people who simply don't trust the Lord when they are between a rock and a hard place. I read about a man who went to see a psychiatrist to get some help with his negative attitude. The poor man explained that he simply had no assurance or confidence in his work, marriage or life in general. The doctor talked with the man using every positive thinking idea he had in his arsenal. After several meetings, the psychiatrist asked the patient, "Do you feel positive about things now?" The patient answered, "Absolutely. I feel very confident. In fact, now I am totally positive that I am going to fail!"

We don't need positive thinking, we need personal faith in the love, direction, strength and might of our Lord. One person and God, makes all the difference in the world!

Let us think of the power of one person in the work of God who has three attributes in his or her life. David had them, and though a mere lad, he did what a trained army of men could not do.

I. The Right Perspective

First, David had the Right Perspective. You can just imagine the soldiers yelling at David as he went out to meet might Goliath, “David, don’t do it. He is too big to hit.” And imagine David calling back to them, “It appears to me gentlemen, he is too big to miss!”

Victory is often a matter of perspective. The way you look at a problem can well determine what you will do with it and about it. Some people have popularized this idea with a phrase like, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” or the phrase, “Possibility Thinking.” Such phrases are not bad in themselves, but they can be dangerous. They can lead someone to believe that thought, or the human mind, is the highest power on earth. Actually, David did not practice possibility thinking; he had a perspective much higher than the top of his head. He was looking to God! His possibilities were as high as heaven and as great as God. He wasn't looking in toward his mind, but upward toward His Master. After all, the head of Goliath was higher than David’s and bigger too. But Goliath has no match for One who is the head of all and the Ruler of all.

There is no substitute for realizing how great our God really is, especially when we are facing huge opposing foes who seem to outnumber us, out spend us, and out spin us. Like a policeman who may be as small as Barney Fife, yet has the State Patrol, the FBI, the CIA, the National Guard, and even the US Military behind him, we do not stand alone when we stand with God in a cause.

What a day that was when David marched out, the little ruddy faced boy that he was, to face the mighty giant. How the Philistines must have laughed and jeered that day when they saw a child coming out to face their mighty champion. Yet, unseen to them were the mighty forces of heaven marshaled on every side of that bold, trusting lad that day. There is power in our lives from God. Though we are small in the eyes of the world, if we have the right perspective, we are more than conquerors through Christ.

Do you have the right perspective as you face giants before you? Oh yes, we all face giant problems and issues at one time or another. It may be work related, or financial, or perhaps it is a psychical issue. No matter what it is that you are dealing with, God is bigger than your problem and stronger than your enemy. We simply must fix our eyes on things above (Colossians 3:1ff).

Many years ago, when I was in my early days of pastoral life, a lady came to see me who was terribly depressed. After I confirmed her testimony, and the fact that she was truly saved, I sensed from the Lord a way to tell her why she was so defeated. I said, "Sister, you are down in a hole. Everywhere you look there is nothing but a wall of dirt and defeat. Lift up your head. Look above you. I read Psalm 121:1-2, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." I added, "If you will begin to pray looking up in your heart to the God who loves you, who gave His Son to die for you at Calvary and raised Him from the dead for your assurance of eternal life, I believe you will soon rise up out of the terrible hole you are in." This lady came back to see me a few weeks later and her entire expression had changed. She said, "I was in a hole, but once I got my heart to look to the Lord everything changed." Exactly. Our peace is not in our circumstances but in our Savior!

The soldiers facing Goliath and the Philistine army were down in their trenches looking up at Goliath, but David was above the trench looking up to God. To overcome to must look up! T

II. The Right Purpose

Secondly, there is the power of one who has the right Purpose.

The purpose of David was not earthly fame or amassed fortune. No, if one reads the story afresh he finds that David had one supreme desire. He wanted to avenge the name of God. Goliath was not just mocking the soldiers of Israel, he was making fun of Yahweh. He was hurling insults at the Redeemer of His people. David burned inside with a purpose higher than himself. He went forth with a mission rooted in something so much greater than his own success that he actually forgot about himself.

When we see our duty to serve God, honor Him, and to present Him faithfully to a mocking world, we rise above our own interests. We come up out of the ashes of defeat and do just what the Bible says we can do – we rise on the wings of eagles (Isaiah 40:31). Christians are not people with angel’s wings, but we are to be a people with eagle’s wings. We are not made for harp playing but for giant killing. Of course I am not speaking here in a literal or military sense. I am speaking in a New Testament and spiritual sense. The New Testament church was not afraid of the Emperor of Rome; no, in fact a few decades after the birth of the church the Emperor himself professed Christ and changed the entire Empire of Rome. There is power in one person who has a purpose for God and a proper perspective of God.

I watched with awe as the people of Charleston, South Carolina dealt with the horror of the fanatical attack on members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Nine people were killed when a hate-filled young man starting shooting in a Bible study on Wednesday evening, June 17. The family members of those killed came to court during the arraignment of the murderer. They spoke of the pain they felt, but then each one spoke of forgiveness for the man who had, through racial hatred, killed their loved ones. What an expression of Christ-like love. You see, they were looking up and not filling their hearts with hate. They were representing their Savior who died on the cross saying, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."  Standing tall of Christ should not be seen as fighting back, but rather is a life representing the best of who Christ is in us.

In this Old Testament story, we see a giant and an army trying to kill God's people and insult their God. Protecting yourself is perfectly legal and biblical. David rose up to the be one who took on the task of doing what seemed to be the impossible. He wasn't doing it for pride or fame, but as a duty to His God and God's people.

If you live for success, pleasure, fame, fortune or any cause other than the cause of Christ, you will be frustrated. This world is not our home. We are sojourners here. We are pilgrims here. We are soldiers on this earth - servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The soldiers serving our nation in the dangerous and faraway places of the earth are not looking to settle down there. They have a mission - to do their duty and come home to the family. That is what we are to do. We are not to fear, fade or fail. Our duty is to be faithful to our Lord till He calls us from our place of service here to be with the family of God at home. Get your purpose right and your personal joy with be a joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8).

Perhaps you feel alone in whatever you are facing. No, my dear Christian friend, you are never alone. Again and again our Lord promised not to leave us. You may feel like "one" poor soul but the Lord is with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you. When you and God are "one" - you cannot be defeated in His plans for you. Yes, I know that His plans may not match yours, but know this - you are to make His plans your plans. That is how the power of one is accomplished and experienced.

III. The Right Persuasion

Thirdly, there is the power of one who is fully Persuaded in his walk with God, and satisfied with what God can do through that one life. David was persuaded in his soul that something had to be done and he was the one to do it. He might well have said, “If not now, when? If not me, who?" If not this, what?” Greatness has in its mixture this ingredient - you must be fully, totally and absolutely persuaded that what you are doing and the reason for it are right in the eyes and will of God.

I remember hearing a boxing match on the radio while living in Alabama and serving in the Army in early 1960s. It was a fight between Sonny Liston, the mighty Goliath of boxing in those days, and an upstart named Cassius Clay (whom we now know as Mohammed Ali). Ali won the fight convincingly. He battered Liston all over the ring. When the fight was over, microphones picked up the voice of Ali yelling and shouting, “I am the greatest boxer in the world. I am the greatest boxer in the world. Nobody believed me. I have beaten the mighty Sonny Liston. I am the greatest. I am the greatest”. Not everyone was convinced. But Ali was! In the world of boxing, there are few people today who would not agree with that youthful, slim, black fighter of the 1960s - he is confirmed by history, and by all estimations, to be one the greatest fighters to every put on a pair of boxing gloves.

When applied to the Christian endeavor, we have to believe and be persuaded that our God is the greatest. We have to be persuaded that His cause is worth our commitment and risk. We must have faith that He has called us and that in His cause, live or die, we cannot lose? This is not a matter of positive thinking; it is rather a matter of persuasion about the power of Christ – the risen Lord! After conquering death, is there any enemy He cannot overwhelm?

People in sports, politics and other areas have confidence and sally forth to do great things in their own field. But, those of us in Christ must see Him leading us in victorious procession in our daily lives. We serve the Risen King. He is not “a” king; He is “THE KING.” Don’t ever let the devil defeat you through intimidation, insinuation, or implication!

Note 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:37 -39; and 1 Corinthians 15:57-58.

Let us ask history to help us today. Can one person, fused with the Spirit of God, reaching above self to a holy cause, armed with all the forces of heaven, make a real difference? In fact, can such a person ever be defeated?

Let us call Pharaoh to testify. You once ruled the mighty empire of Egypt  and that land that sat alongside the mighty Nile River. Tell us, Pharaoh, can a stuttering shepherd from the backside of the desert make a difference. Pharaoh must testify that one man, Moses, stood before the entire Egyptian Empire and won the victory thought the power and will of God.

Ask Ahab to come and speak today. Ahab, you commanded a kingdom with hundreds of prophets to the idol god Baal. With your armies and your prophets, was it possible for one man who eats locust and honey, and has no soldiers, no army and no apparent manly powers defeat you? Ahab must testify that Elijah, the prophet of God, stood with God's power and defeated Ahab and Jezebel.

Daniel stood before a den of lions, as one man, and in God's power and will defeated the enemy.

Joshua saw the wall of Jericho fall because he was a leader who believed and followed God's will.

Come now, what problem is too big for God? What place is too hard for God to work? What person is too lost for God to saved? What empty purse is too hard for God to fill? poverty to speak. Can one man standing with God defeat you? Ask Job. He lost all but his wife. He lost his children, his home, his flocks, his business and his health. Remember, dear friend, he eventually won the victory. One person and God - that is victory.

Now we look at David. He stand before a giant with nothing but a sling - or at least that appeared to be all he had. But, deep down David had a faith in the power of God. He determined to stand for the name of God. Goliath and an entire army was no match for this little ruddy faced boy named David.

The power of one - and all because of One who has all Power. For in the end, that is the answer. It is not just the power of one, it is the One who has the Power, the One and only, our Lord and Savior. HE IS THE ONE!

What is the last enemy of mankind? Is it not death? Death took hold of every man and every woman and led them down into the grave. He did the same on a hill outside Jerusalem one day about 2,000 years ago. Surely death thought that this One would be no different that all the millions before, but death miscalculated. For One was Jesus and on the third day He rose up and placed the hobnail boot of authority on the chest of death and rose from the grave. He had the keys to death and hell in His hand. Jesus said, “Behold I am he that lives forevermore.”

One person in full persuasion of God's will and work cannot be defeated. For God is with us as we do His will and will not allow failure. The world may see it as failure, but God will bring about victory in the end. You see, the end is not now. The final word will be spoken on that great day when our Lord completes all that He has planned for His children.

IV. The Right Person (Jesus)

Yes, each one of us can make a difference, because of the Powerful One who overcame sin, hell and death – even Jesus our Lord. Let us resolve to never feel intimidated by the world, the flesh or the devil. These mighty giants are hopeless when one person, linked with the mighty God of heaven, goes out to do battle in His name! Jesus arose! He is alive! He lives in every Believer! Rejoice and be one who embraces His strength within you. Say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)


What are you facing today? What intimidates you? I ask you to rise today in the power and name of Christ to proclaim your faith. Come to Him now. Rest in Him. Find peace in Him. He will never leave you, nor will He ever forsake you. He is the Lord of Glory. He hears your cries and intercedes for you. He is with you in the valley, even the valley of death. I know I am speaking to someone today who needs a boast from heaven. You don't need 5 Hour Energy, you need everlasting energy and it is yours in Christ and in Christ alone.

Someone here today has been beaten down by life and by sin. You need a Savior. Christ died for you and rose to give you everlasting and abundant life. Turn from you sin and accept Him today.

Let us respond to the Lord's call. He is calling you. You know He is. Come to Him now!