Ours is a community filled with people driven by the relentless pursuit to reach their potentials.
Parents spend a lot of time and energy encouraging their children to turn that quest into a reality. Teachers and coaches add their support. Companies expect it – or else. Spouses would love to see their mates peak to their potentials. When it doesn’t happen, they are left to decide how to broach this potentially sensitive subject without a marital blowup.
Chances are that you’re numbered among the majority of people consumed with reaching their potentials. I know your type. I used to be an active, card-carrying tribe member, too. Better, faster, bigger – it propelled me to do more, that I might be more, in my never-ending effort to be all that I could be.
No longer. Today I’m happy to say I’m a “must reach my potential” dropout. I quit your clan. Left. Gone on to bigger and better things. I’m shooting at a new target. No longer do I want to reach my potential – I now want to exceed it.
“And that’s better?” you ask. “Like a Tiger Pastor, high-intensity, enough-is-never-enough, life quest is a palatable solution? You’re kidding, right?”
Well, actually not.
My desire to exceed my potential life is actually God-led, God-driven and God-enabled, which is why I can hardly wait to see what I become. It’s not about what I can do or become, it’s about what God can do in and through me. It will be beyond me because it will be beyond what I could do or be – even if I did reach my potential.
Are you familiar with Jesus’ “I am the vine, my Father is the vinedresser … you are the branches” (John 15:1-5) teaching from the Bible? We at Bridges Community Church recently spent time considering this Napa Valley-like metaphor. Grapes grow on branches that are connected to a vine. Detached branches die, attached branches produce delicious juicy grapes – in abundance if the conditions are right.
That’s what the vintner seeks and works for – fruit, more fruit and even more fruit in ever-increasing proportions. Jesus said it’s possible for the same principle to work in the lives of those who stay vitally connected to God through Jesus Christ. Those who live life with Jesus will exceed their potential. Not due to their intellect or strength. On the contrary, this fruit is God-produced and Christ-like in quality.
The possibility of my life producing Christ-like fruit has me on a different track than the one I ran on for years. Now I’m more interested in a God-empowered life than a self-empowered “what will be is up to me” quest. Sure, I might reach my potential if that were my goal. But why would I settle for that when the God of the universe offers His children so much more? I’d rather live beyond me than be limited by me, and in so doing, exceed anything I could have done on my own.
The Rev. David Gudgel is lead pastor of Bridges Community Church, 625 Magdalena Ave., Los Altos. For more information, visit www.connectbcc.org.