Can one man really make a difference?

dr_joe_and_mrs_zandraAs a pastor, I enjoy sharing the Good News of the Gospel with the people around me as well as counseling believers and nonbelievers alike. As I speak with people about the difference one person can make in this world I usually end up hearing something like, “what can one person really do to make a difference in this big world of ours.” I leave it as a statement instead of a question because from the tone of voice and body language, it is obvious that the person is making a statement instead of asking a question. I want to share about the impact that two people have had on this world by impacting the lives of many, many people.

The first person on the list is Jesus Christ because without Him, the other person would not have been able to do what he did. Jesus came to this earth to reconnect man with God. He accomplished His goal by teaching people how to reconnect with God (the method was left for us on the pages of the Holy Bible) and then making that way possible by dying on the cross to pay the price for our sins and then resurrecting to set us free from our slavery to sin. Because of Him, if we follow the method that the Bible lays out for us, then we no longer stand before God as condemned people for breaking His laws and we now have the will and the ability to say NO to temptation and sin, moment by moment, day by day. This one Man has literally changed the course of human history for all time. So yes, one Man can make a difference.

Now I want to explain the other man’s life. Dr. Joe Walker of Water Valley MS passed away from this life on Saturday, December 29, 2012. He left this earth and entered the presence of his Savior, Jesus Christ. The reason he was able to enter into the presence of the Lord is because of the transformation Christ brought about in his life some 20 years ago. Dr. Walker was born again through the power of the Spirit of God as he was reading and meditating on the Word of God. Jesus Christ set him free from his slavery to sin and lit a fire in him for the people around him. Before that moment in Dr. Walker’s life, he had been serving the community as a doctor but not using his practice to serve the Lord. He was trying to meet the physical and emotional needs of the community but not the spiritual. He was serving by his own strength and not God’s and because of that he was burned out. Once God lit his fire and he began to serve the people around him physically, emotionally, and spiritually, he never grew weary because he was serving with God’s strength and not his own. Dr. Walker began to use his practice not only to serve the people around him but also to serve the Lord. That is what made the difference. He has literally impacted thousands of lives, both young and old. Because of the impact Jesus Christ had in this man’s life, he was able to impact a community and the world. So yes, one man can make a difference when he does as Proverbs 3:5-8 teaches:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes ; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.

Dr. Walker made that choice 20 years ago and it changed his life, the impact of his profession, and the impact of his life in the lives of others.

I met Dr. Walker, not in his office, but on the baseball field. I was 10 years old and he was a coach in the community’s summer league baseball program. I really liked his attitude. He knew how to encourage while he still taught discipline and a good work ethic. Little did I know then how many meetings we would have over the years. Over the next four or five years I found myself on a rival team coached by my Dad against Dr. Walker’s team. It extended from the baseball field to the basketball court. I saw something different in him. When his team won, he was humble and gave more credit to the opposing team than his own. When his team lost, he was an excellent sport about it congratulating the opposing team and encouraging the players. I was not born again at the time and did not understand what made Dr. Walker the way that he was but I just liked his character and attitude. Later, I played high school sports with his children so I was able to interact with Dr. Walker often. He demanded discipline and a good work ethic while at the same time encouraging us to do our best, win or lose. He was there for us. Over the years he developed a good relationship with my Dad since they spent much time coaching against each other and then cheering us on together as we played on the same teams. My father always spoke highly of Dr. Walker and he became our family doctor like he was to many people in our community.

When I surrendered to the ministry, Dr. Walker was one of the first to congratulate me. When I felt the call to the foreign mission field, he was one of the first to come and encourage me, as well as support us. So again, yes, one man can make a difference in the world. Because of Dr. Walker’s example, encouragement, love, and support, the Gospel is not only impacting the people of his community but also people half a world away in the country of Moldova where I serve as a missionary/pastor.

I want to end this by saying thanks to Dr. Walker for his impact in my life and countless others. I also want to thank his wife for serving with him and being so supportive of his service. Thank you Mrs. Zandra. To my friends John and Ward, I pray that you will follow in your father’s footsteps by serving God through serving the people around you the way that he did. I am praying for you guys as you endure this difficult time. As an encouragement:


Death has been overcome and Dr. Walker has experienced that victory because Christ said:

25 Jesus said . . . “I am the resurrection and the life ; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, (John 11:25)

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