One Man Made A Difference

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Never underestimate the influence of one person. Never say to yourself that you are only one person—what difference could you make. Most of the great accomplishments of life come because one person dared to act.

This was the case with a Presbyterian preacher, Rev. George M. Docherty. In 1952, he was serving the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. He was from Glasgow, Scotland. He heard his 7-year-old son Garth say the Pledge of Allegiance and noticed that it did not refer to God.

Rev. Docherty had grown up in Scotland. He verbalized, “We said God save our gracious queen, and God save our gracious king.” He couldn’t believe that the Pledge of Allegiance didn’t even recognize God.

He decided to preach a sermon saying that the pledge should acknowledge God. One man—one message—and God used it.

That initial sermon actually had little effect. On February 7, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended his church. Because of advanced security he knew that the President would be coming. He preached the sermon again indicating that our Pledge of Allegiance should acknowledge God.

The very next day, Representative Charles G. Oakman from Michigan introduced a bill to add the phrase “under God” to the pledge. It passed in both the Senate and the House. President Eisenhower signed the law on Flag Day that year.

Never underestimate what a vision from one person can accomplish. Never give up if at first it doesn’t come to reality.

Rev. George Docherty died at his home in central Pennsylvania last month. He was 97. A great statesman has died—who will take his place?

Let God help you make this a “make the difference” day!

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