Discounting Potential

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?”

Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon.” Mark 6:1-3

When people encountered Jesus, they were generally amazed. It’s a word that comes up a lot in scripture. Amazed.

And when amazed, they were left with a decision – they would either follow and believe in this man who amazed them, or they would call it evil, or offensive, or magic.

But I noticed something extraordinary in this passage. Rather than any of those usual responses, the people responded by discounting the potential of Jesus.

He’s JUST a carpenter.
He’s JUST the son of ordinary parents.
He’s JUST from an ordinary family.

How often do we discount the potential in other people?
Maybe a better question is: How often do we discount the potential in ourselves?

I get it. He’s Jesus. We’re not. However, as followers of Christ, we’ve been forgiven of sins (one half of the incredible equation) AND we’ve also been given the righteousness of Christ (the second half).

I am not JUST a man from Longview, Washington.
I am not JUST a man of ordinary intelligence.
I am not JUST…

With Christ, I am so much more than JUST my circumstances, my past, and my ordinary-ness.

The same is true with you: Don’t discount your potential. In Christ, you are more than JUST _____.
You are a conqueror, capable of more than you think possible, all because of the righteousness given to you by Christ, the one people originally tried to write off as JUST.

Don’t discount your potential. Eliminate the JUST.

Growing Up in a Microwaveable World


I want to change the world – today.
I want to be financially secure – yesterday.
I want to be in charge – RIGHT NOW.
I want to be the leader I imagine being in my mind NOW.

The microwave was invented in the early 20th century, patented for household use in 1945, and became a popular household item between 1970 and 1990. The point of a microwave? Cook things quicker, faster, sooner.

In many ways, the microwave is a reflection of how culture and generations have changed.

Ambition, innovation, and growth have long been desires of the human soul. Over time, we started to expect things quicker, faster, sooner.

The problem? Many of us aren’t ready for the kind of growth we expect microwaved for us.
Furthermore, we don’t always grasp the work required to achieve the results desired.

There are some things that can’t be microwaved.

Instead of microwaving growth, ambition, creativity, and leadership, we need to focus on a few principles that I have tried to apply to my own life:

1. Take small steps every single day.

In a microwaveable world, we want everything now. When we don’t get it? We give up.

Instead of wanting the whole thing now, focus on taking small steps every single day.

If you want to grow as a leader? Don’t set a goal to read a book this week or 20 books in a year. Focus on reading 5 minutes every single day.
Want to become financially secure? Don’t focus on the massive debt load, focus on paying 10 extra dollars a day to pay it down.
Want to change the world? Focus on the person or problem right in front of you right now.

Take small steps every single day. It’s amazing how those small steps add up.

2. Be faithful and engaged in the present.

This is one of the biblically true but underutilized principles out there.

So often, we question whether God TRULY has us in the right place, the right job, or the right situation. And sure, there are times where we might not be in the ideal place or situation and a change is required, but does that mean it isn’t “right?”

Furthermore, if we can’t be engaged and faithful in our present, why would God want to give us a better future?

It’s common to hear Christians say, “The best is yet to come.” Eternally, that’s certainly true. Circumstantially, that may or may not be true.

What I do believe to be true? If you are faithful and engaged in the present, honoring those who lead, the resources you’ve been given, the people God has called you to love, God will give you more.

The challenge for myself and every young(er) leader I know: Sometimes, a microwave is not possible. Let things cook. Slowly. Take small steps. Be faithful and engaged in the present.

Over time, you’ll become the kind of leader and person you dream of becoming.

It just make take some time.