“In the common walks of life there is many a man patiently treading the round of daily toil, unconscious that he possesses powers which, if called into action, would raise him to an equality with the world’s most honored men. The touch of a skillful hand is needed to arouse those dormant faculties.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p 250)
And no one saw the potential in individuals like Jesus did (and does). Besides the lesson-packed selections of His disciples, we see Jesus constantly ignoring social norms and connecting with those who are normally relegated to be the last and the least.
He took wild men and turned them into successful missionaries. He took women of ill repute and turned them into city-wide evangelists. He took children and turned them into team members integral in miracles that are being recounted thousands of years later. He took cripples, blind folks, deaf, dying and even the dead and turned them into living praise teams and broadcasters of the good news.
Discipling the Ordinary did not begin during New Testament times. Thousands of years before our Saviour was born of a woman, He was changing the ordinary into the extraordinary. Remember the story of when a king was needed and our Lord chose a young boy?
The Prophet Samuel stood perplexed before Jesse and his sons. He had come on a dangerous journey to anoint the next king that would replace the rejected King Saul. Directed to the house of Jesse Samuel looked upon Eliab and assumed that he was Jehovah’s choice. He had the look that just seemed to signify nobility and a natural replacement to stand as a leader of Israel. But Samuel was wrong.
“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Out tending the sheep was the young man destined to be the next king of Israel. There was nothing outwardly to suggest his potential to be anything other than a common man doing common things. But God reads the heart and the rest is history.
The experience of David, rising from obscurity to prominence, has been repeated in the lives of many of our favorite Bible characters, illustrating that everyone has potential and that it is never left up to man to determine how far another can go in life or how much someone else can accomplish for God’s glory.
“There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God. If men will endure the necessary discipline, without complaining or fainting by the way, God will teach them hour by hour, and day by day. He longs to reveal His grace. If His people will remove the obstructions, He will pour forth the waters of salvation in abundant streams through the human channels. If men in humble life were encouraged to do all the good they could do, if restraining hands were not laid upon them to repress their zeal, there would be a hundred workers for Christ where now there is one.” Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p 250
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful testimony to hear from individuals that we had been instrumental in developing their potential? Wouldn’t it be great to see the unpromising turn into champions for the Kingdom of God in part because we took the time to invest in their lives? Wouldn’t it be something to do unto others as we would like them to do unto us? The word of the day is Potential.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
?What does “potential” mean to you?
?How does a person’s upbringing determine their potential? Or does it? Why?
?Is Bible knowledge the most important element needed for developing Christian potential? Why or why not?
?Can past behavior be a good indicator of future actions? Explain.
?What is the lesson of Matthew 7:6, “neither cast ye your pearls before swine”? Do we need discernment to know how to invest our time, energy, and resources? How do we obtain that discernment?
?From a church congregation’s point of view, what are some ways that hinder the potential of members, especially young members?
?Does the Bible teach that there should be no differences in our interaction with others regardless of their position and/or rank in life? Explain.
We close this week with the words of the Apostle James who speaks with authority from first-hand experience under the direct discipleship of Jesus:
“My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?
Is it clear to you that God has chosen the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges? This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.” James 2:1-8 The Message
The word of the day is Potential. Everyone has potential. No one can decide what its limits are. Only God knows. And we must try to develop potential; not just in ourselves but also in those we serve. Potential.