Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
The Power of One

Have you heard the African proverb that says:

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito.”

Or perhaps you recall the story of Mary Mallon, nicknamed Typhoid Mary. She was documented as the individual who caused the New York typhoid fever epidemic in 1906.

Then there’s the story of a little boy and a beach full of starfish:

One day, an old man walked along a beach littered with thousands of starfish washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir.”

The old man chuckled. “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

What do all three of these have in common? The answer is, the power of one.

Today, we’re experiencing another illustration of the power of one. One person can either spread or slow the spread of COVID-19 in their community. We’re hearing it again and again. People confident of their own health are willing to risk being infected, rather than be inconvenienced. Those who take this position forget the power of one. They may be healthy, but who might they infect whose health is not as strong? You and I can each be the one who slows or stops the spread of this virus by maintaining physical distancing.

But the power of one is best exemplified in this final example, perhaps the most important illustration of all.

The Bible tells us “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned … how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Romans 5:12,15).

The power of one brought sin. And the power of one brings the gift of grace, freedom from sin, and reconciliation with our heavenly Father.

As you and I practice the power of one in our present environment, remember the power of one God provided for you and me in Jesus Christ. Remember the power of one that has eternal ramifications for us. And then communicate this eternal power of one to those who are frightened. They’re afraid of a virus and they’re afraid of an uncertain future.

Share the power of one, just as someone else shared Him with you.

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  1. Pat Weimer


    I so enjoy your writings. They are always uplifting and encouraging, especially during this crazy time we are all going through. This is a good time for all of us to realize our priorities beginning with putting God first. Get back into reading his word and get away from all the social media that has been so much of our lives. God is large and in charge of this. Loved the “Power of One”!!

  2. Diana Owens

    Thanks Ava
    Love reading your writing. Only God

  3. Melissa Henderson

    Sharing God’s love in each moment. Someone shared His love with me and I will share His love with others. Yes, the power of one. 🙂

  4. Jessica Brodie

    Excellent post, Ava! You are so right that one individual has tremendous power, both for good and for negative. One person can make a HUGE difference. So can one smile, one prayer, one virtual hug, one kind word. God bless you, and thanks for this reminder!

  5. Karen Friday

    Ava, oh, the power of one. Each of your illustrations are perfect examples. May we remember our own power of one to help stop the spread of this horrible virus. So thankful for this: “As you and I practice the power of one in our present environment, remember the power of one God provided for you and me in Jesus Christ. Remember the power of one that has eternal ramifications for us.”

  6. Stephen Lewis

    Awesome Message Sister, the Star Fish story is one of my all time favorites! God Bless You as you continue to inspire us all!! God Bless

  7. Stephen De La Vega

    This is such an important message, Ava. And what a sobering illustration of the impact of one person, especially the One who came to save us. Thank you for pointing us to Christ.

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