Have you ever thought about the term potential? We use the term a lot in different forms of conversation. Do we really know what it means?
Potential as defined by the dictionary is expressing possibility, capable of being or becoming, a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.
I have been reading a book Raising A Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis. We are currently studying this book each week in our Men’s Bible Study. As I was preparing for this weeks study, I came across a brief section on potential that really gripped me and I want to share it with you.
General Ulyssees S. Grant, whose victories at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and elsewhere sealed the conflict for the Union, is considered one of the heroes of the War between the States. But Grant’s success is remarkable when you consider his background. You see, prior to the war, Ulysses S. Grant was a confirmed failure. He had failed as a farmer, a peddler of firewood, and as the proprietor of a leather store in Galena, Illinois. At one point, he was so broke that he pawned his gold watch–a family heirloom for $22. But deep in his heart, Ulysses S. Grant knew he could succeed….No matter how hard Grant tried, no one seemed to sense his potential. [pg. 124-125 Raising a Modern Day Knight]
We know the rest of the story how Grant would later be known as of one the greatest Generals of the Civil War. How is it for us today? Are there people around us that possess great potential and we pass them by or ignore them. What if Grant languished in his failures which were already evident in his life?
I like what the Bible says in regard to failure and potential:
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead – Philippians 3:12-13 NKJV.
The Apostle Paul realized the importance of forgetting and reaching forward. We would call this perseverance. Refusing to live in the shadows of our past failures. Learning from them and moving forward.
Is there someone around you that has potential in a particular area? Maybe you can be a difference-maker in their life by encouraging them. A tiny bit of encouragement from someone can go a long way in the life of another. We call that mentoring. A big word for a relatively simple concept.