What difference can one life really make? When we think of people like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or others who have been in extraordinary positions, wielding extraordinary power, perhaps we say one life can make a tremendous difference.
It’s another thing, though, when we talk about us ordinary folk with limited resources and limited opportunities isn’t it? Yet, in Scripture I read about one ordinary person following another who made tremendous impact on the world. Think about just a few: Abraham…nothing special. Joseph…nothing special, either. David…a shepherd…nothing. Peter, the fisherman…nope. I could go on and on with individuals who were “nothing special” but accomplished spectacular things. Or should I say, had spectacular things accomplished through them? That’s really it, isn’t it? It’s one thing to be given power and prestige and accomplish great things. It’s another thing, entirely, to be an average joe living an average life and accomplish things.
I say this because everybody…yes, everybody…wants to accomplish great things; they want to make a difference; to leave their mark on the world. Everybody wishes they had more influence, power, and position to do more than they feel capable of. And yet, just like (and I do mean just like) all of those amazing people in Scripture, we have the capability of having great things done through us. So, I’d like to take just a minute to reflect on the characteristics of these individuals so that we can learn how to accomplish God-sized things and make an impact on the world around us. I’ll list the top five characteristics:
1. They yielded to the call of God.
OK. Let me start again:
1. They yielded to God.
2. See #1.
That’s really it. They yielded to God and through them, God did extraordinary things, giving them extraordinary power and ability to accomplish all He chose them to do.
How hard it is for us to tap into the power the Holy Spirit has already put within us because we find it difficult to set aside our own dreams and desires and simply yield to His desire! But that’s where the power is. That’s it, there is nothing more.
At Memorial, I am focusing on praying for rain and preparing our fields in expectation of the coming rain. Starting this Sunday, I will preach a four week series on “April Showers.” For me and, hopefully, for our congregation, it is a month of expectation, where we begin to focus on the preparations of God’s Spirit as He comes upon us and begins to do extraordinary things through us. I believe this can and will happen. Why? Because He said it would. Hosea 10: 12 reveals the nature of God as He deals with His unfaithful people:
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Fallow ground is land that has been prepared for crops, yet is unseeded. How easy it is to grow hard and fruitless, yet God says to begin preparing the field and seek the Lord. Why? That His rain may come!
Last week, I showed scenes from the movie, Facing the Giants, which focuses on a coach who completely yielded to the call and purpose of God. Another minor character is Mr. Bridges, a gentleman in the community who has come to the high school for years, praying for each student as he would quietly walk past the lockers, calling on God for a revival. In the movie, that’s exactly what happened. In real life it can, too!
It is hard for me to swallow that reality most of the time. Usually, I am good at making excuses as to why I can’t expect extraordinary things to happen through my life. Yet, I have the same ability that every one of these people had…the ability to yield.