Recently I was asked to name a person who has been influential in my life. I’m sure you could answer that question pretty quickly. It didn’t take me long either. What was surprising to me is that I came up with two different names with one significant common denominator. These two people believed in the potential they saw in me. They risked my immaturity and my mistakes to empower me to accomplish something I never really imagined was possible on my own.
Mike Taylor was my Youth Pastor when I was a student. He heard from a friend of mine that I played the piano. From that point on he challenged and encouraged me to lead our student ministry in worship every week. I was awful, but he kept pushing. He kept putting me in front of people and giving me opportunities to improve. He believed I could be useful to God and His kingdom in a way I had never really imagined on my own.
James Lankford was the Student Ministry Specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and Director of Falls Creek. Today he is about to become the next Congressman for the 5th District of the great state of Oklahoma. A friend of mine and I began a video production business. We didn’t really have any idea what we were doing. But there we were, with a hobby, some cool toys and a little imagination that had grown into a small business. And there was James, challenging and encouraging us to produce video for 5000 students a week at Falls Creek and then 10,000 students at the Oklahoma Youth Evangelism Conference. Equipment failed, mistakes were plentiful, yet James patiently continued to challenge and encourage us to go beyond what we imagined we were capable of on our own.
There are other men who have spoken into my life – Rodney Salmon, Mike Compton, my Father, my Father-in-law. Each has challenged and encouraged me to go further than I thought possible and to attempt more than I imagined I could ever achieve on my own. It makes me mindful of an important truth.
You give remarkable power to someone when you believe in them.
So the question for today is this: Who do you believe? Who, by your belief, are you challenging and encouraging? Who do you see tremendous, God-given potential in and what are you doing to help them unleash that potential?
Perhaps God placed you in their life to be the voice that pushes them beyond anything they imagined possible on their own.