Making a Statement Or Making a Difference? [ARTICLE – Tyler Prater]

It was Monday morning and I was enjoying my day off.  As is typical for me on Monday mornings, I was sitting down in my “man chair,” drinking coffee and watching ESPN.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out what the big news was from the past weekend.  It was the very controversial statement made by many NFL players and teams of kneeling down or not even coming out of the locker room for the national anthem. I’ve got to be honest, this really fired me up.  

Then, I decided to catch up on Facebook.  Boy, was that a mistake!  I found nothing but statement after statement, video after video, and article after article making a case for both sides of the issue.  I’m not going to lie; I had a well-crafted statement typed out that I felt was very logical and strong for why I personally felt that protesting during the national anthem was completely out of line. Then, the Holy Spirit had to interfere.  Don’t you hate it when God steps in before you click post and declares to you that your well-crafted statement is absolutely unnecessary?  I argued with God for a little bit, but finally obeyed by painfully pushing the backspace button.   

Let me explain what God taught me.  He taught me that making a statement and making a difference are two entirely different things. For instance, kneeling down during the national anthem is making a statement; volunteering in a neighborhood that desperately needs loving male leadership is making a difference.  Think about it:  What a difference the NFL players could make if they took their passion for what they stand for to a needy neighborhood and personally mentored young men, built playgrounds, offered character enhancement programs, and, most importantly, shared Jesus Christ with those they feel are being treated unfairly.  I guarantee you they would make a greater difference than what they’re making by kneeling down during the singing of the national anthem.

Yet, God reminded me that I’m often no better.  I also tend to try to make a difference through making a statement instead of through offering a solution.  Of course, making a biblical statement is important and appropriate at times, but never to the exclusion of making a biblical difference. Here’s what God taught me in my “man chair” that Monday morning: I’m not called me to be a statement maker; I’m called me to be a difference maker.  And the best way I can make a difference is not through posting but through serving. According to James 1:27, making a difference looks like this: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

It would have done me no good to call out the NFL or its players on Facebook–simply because none of them are my friends. (I know you’re shocked. But really, I don’t personally know any NFL players.) Therefore, I concluded that by posting a “rant” on Facebook, I would just be making a statement which God has not called me to do.  And I would be doing the very thing I’m condemning in the NFL players.  

I think that we could learn something here as Bible-believing Christians from the NFL in regards to what NOT to do. If we want to make a true difference and offer a real solution, it will not be done by protesting; it will be done by serving.  So, the next time you’re about to post your logical and well-crafted statement on Facebook regarding whatever issue is relevant at the time, remind yourself that you’re not called to be a statement maker; you’re called to be a difference maker.  After all, who are we really serving by posting a “rant” on Facebook?

God help us to make a difference through serving before we try and make a scene through protesting, whether that be on a football field or through a computer screen.

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  1. Tyler,

    This is helpful and well written: thank you for sharing. – David

  2. Well put! Amen!

  3. Thank you for sharing this! Very encouraging!

  4. So well said. Thanks for this insight and congratulations on owning a “man chair”. I have the personal goal of one day owning an Eames.

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