When I was in elementary school, I walked home from school each day. There was a trail I would climb that led through a small dark private cemetery. This was the very place that came to mind on the occasion of compiling my book The Spiritual Reshaping of a Christian Hawaii. Upon interviewing Pastor Joe Onosai, one of the well known Christian leaders in Hawaii, he spoke about missed opportunities. In essence, he stated, “The grave yard is one of the saddest places to go to. Not only because it is where the remains of loved ones are buried, but, because of the many books that could have been written, ideas shared, inventions developed. Yet, they are all buried there.”When I read the Bible, I am continuously amazed at the way God used people to do great things. It is natural to elevate such people like Elijah, Moses, David, Esther, and Mary to very high levels. Certainly they merit our deep respect and admiration. We do forget, however, that the great things they did and were a part of came as a result of God’s presence in their lives.For example, Elijah did things that were legendary. Like call down fire from heaven. Like praying for rain to be held from falling on the land for three years and six months. He prayed again and the heavens gave rain.[i] He even revived a woman’s son back to life.[ii] But the Scriptures teach that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.” He was an ordinary person from the standpoint of his nature. In other words, Elijah the prophet was prone to the same weaknesses that we are subject to. He had to deal with guilt, disappointment, and failure like you and me. Yet, when the stage was set to encounter one of the greatest and most dramatic confrontations, he was ready.Who’s God is real? Your’s or mine? Let’s challenge. This was no meager deal. Elijah put his reputation on the line. His credibility, his future, his place in society were at stake. He was charged with the fickle belief patterns of his people and pushed them to choose sides. Are you going to follow God or follow Baal, a pagan idol. So he confronted the people with a bold move, he alone against four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal.[iii]With a dramatic ending God miraculously consumes the sacrifice of Elijah by fire in the presence of all the people of Israel. All this after the prophets of Baal gouged themselves and chanted with the intent of provoking their idol to action with no avail. A spectacular victory.How many others do you think existed at the time who may have had similar dreams to do something so dynamic that God would have to miraculously show forth His power? Perhaps there were a few others. But, Elijah did it. What set Elijah apart was that he was a man who lived a life characterized by faith in action. That is why God could perform such amazing things through him. After all, don’t you realize that “faith without works is dead?”[iv] That is the very thing that can set you apart from those around you who are not willing to put faith into action.There are people near you who may have some of the same aspirations as you. They may have great ideas and dreams. But, few of them will be willing to take the steps you take or pay the price you pay. Here are a few things that you should know about attempting great things.First, it will be hard. Second, it will require a risk. Third, you will need to make a sacrifice of some kind. Fourth, you will need to be prepared to deliver above and beyond what is expected. Fifth, some way or another, it will all be worth it down the road.Memorable Quote: “The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.” Charles Schwab, industrialist and financierRelated Scripture: “…and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy…” Nehemiah 1:11Suggestion for Prayer: Dear God, I believe that you have given me potential to do great things. Help me as I take steps to achieve the things I can see and make them a reality in my life.[i] James 5:17-18[ii] 1 Kings 17:22[iii] 1 Kings 18:20-46[iv] James 2:20Taken from manuscript from Danny Yamashiro’s book, Discover the Champion in You.
You are here: Home / Devotionals / Faith Action #1: If You Expect Great Things, Attempt Great Things