The Weekly Epistle 10/4/23

Hi Living Hope,

A Munich schoolmaster wrote on his report, “He will never amount to anything.” That was in 1895. In 1905, the University of Bern turned down a doctoral dissertation as “irrelevant and fanciful.” Who wrote it? Who was it that would never amount to anything? Albert Einstein. 

An English teacher in 1894 noted on a teenager’s report card, “a conspicuous lack of success.” That teenager was Winston Churchill. It was said of Harrison Ford, “you will never make it in this business.” Fred Astaire was rejected during a Hollywood screen test when it was said that he, “can’t sing and dances a little.” And Michael Jordan was told that he wasn’t good enough to make his high school varsity basketball team. 

I will never forget the first person who took the time to develop me as a leader. I know I have shared it with you in other settings before, so I will spare you the details again. Suffice it to say, what stands out to me the most is this pastor’s ability to see in me something that others did not see. I don’t really blame those people for their thoughts of me. I gave them plenty of evidence through my actions to support their perception. 

My mind doesn’t go to those individuals as much as to the one who poured his life into me. He saw something in me, that I didn’t even see, that was worth his time and perhaps even risking his reputation. 

I am struck by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though, we once regarded Christ in his way, we do so no longer.” Earlier in that section of Scripture, Paul speaks of the love of Christ that compels him. When we are gripped by Jesus’ love for us, our outlook on everything changes. One place that is true is in our view of people. 

We can see all people as potentially “savable.” What we see on the outside may not be pretty, but they have great value to God and are loved infinitely. They are not beyond God’s reach to change them. Just think of the marvelous potential that lies before them if they will only trust Jesus and live for Him. 

Those who are in Christ are brand new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (verse 17). I am to look at those in Christ as people who are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next. I shouldn’t have people “stuck in time.” 

How do you view others? How do you view yourself? Are you reaching your potential? That is not to say it is all up to us. Reaching your potential has nothing to do with tapping into the good within you to become the person you want to be. 

A Christian perspective on potential is to view it as a stewardship. It is to understand that God has entrusted each of us with gifts, abilities, purpose, and it is our responsibility to use those for His purpose and glory. We are to strive to become all that God has designed us to do and to be. 

Howard Hendricks put it this way, “Nothing is more common than unfulfilled potential.” 

Don’t be common. Don’t be ok with mediocrity when it comes to your growth as a Christian. Believer, you are a new creation. Not just a makeover. But brand new in Christ. Don’t limit what God wants to do in you and through you. Others may not see it, but God is able to do immeasurably more in you than you can ask or imagine! 
Blessings, Pastor Brian