Running with the Giants
by John Maxwell
Just as Hebrews 12 tells us that there are a great cloud of witnesses around us, so we have people who encourage today. We can look at the lives of the path past and receive encouragement from them.
His righteousness save humanity from extinction.
Five ways that we can make a difference:
- We can make a difference for our family. Disobedience did not save just Noah, it saved all of his family – Genesis 7. Those closest to you benefit the most when you do right.
- We can make a difference for God’s creation.
- We can make a difference for future generations. Our actions can help those that come behind us. Earth’s inhabitants are still receiving the benefits because of Noah’s obedience.
- We can make a difference for God. God is always looking for someone who will stand in the gap for him.
- You can make a difference at any age. There are no limitations with God; not being out of money, education or anything difficult for Him. Noah was 600 years old when he entered into the ark.
Noah teaches us that it is ok to standalone, not to be afraid of it.
Noah teaches us not to be afraid of doing something for the first time. He had never seen rain nor had built a boat. Don’t allow the words “it has never been done” make you not serve God.
Noah teaches us that when we see a rainbow we should realize that one person can make a difference
God has a place for you.
Esther grew up without living with her parents and in a foreign land. But she encourages us that no place is out of place when God is with you.
Mordecai’s word to her that she had come to the palace for such a time as this changed her.
Esther reminds us that there may be a period of time in which we do not understand God’s purpose for us, but still continue.
Esther teaches us that taking a risk is not so hard if God is on your side.
The time between the birth of a dream and when it happens could be a long time.
Joseph teaches us that we do not have to give up on a dream even if we did not start well. Joseph had his dream at 17 years old, but even though it did not go well with him he still continued. Many people have a dream and when it gets hard they give up.
Don’t give up on your dreams even when your family does not support it.
Don’t give up on your dream even if it is full of surprises. After Joseph had his dream, he was misunderstood, sold into slavery to, lied about, forgotten, etc.
Every time Joseph found himself in a give-up position, he realized the Lord was with him and that is what kept him going.
23 years had past from the time that Joseph had his dream until it was fulfilled. You never know what God’s timetable looks like.
When other people knock you down don’t complain because it does no good. Suffering in hard times can make you better.
Joseph teaches us that self-promotion can never replace divine promotion. The only advance that matters is the one that God gives.
God is the God of every perfect gift and fulfills dreams.
Moses teaches us to live in the faith zone not the safe zone.
Moses had to overcome his past in order to move into the faith zone.
Moses ran to the desert and soon that desert become a safe place for him. He took a wife took a position in the family business. His life was set and safe.
Moses overcame the insecurity of his future. God spoke to Moses at the burning bush and told him to go back to Egypt. Moses felt totally incapable and began to show his insecurities. Moses raised many objections to God’s plan but God always had a response.
Moses teaches us that we do not naturally leave the safe zone. He did not want to leave each step and then after leaving became comfortable in the desert and did not want to leave there.
Growth begins when we leave the safe zone. Just because we do not want to do something does not mean that we should not do something.
If you want to grow, you may need to go.
Defeat tomorrow’s regrets by leaving the safe zone today.
Give generously to others.
She was asked for water and gave it to the man and then gave water to his camels. She did not know that her generous that was to none else then Abrahams servant.
Giving water to a stranger is one thing, but to his camels that drink 20 gallons each is a whole other thing.
Sadly many individuals do only what they are required and nothing more. We want to do minimum effort and receive maximum payment.
You can’t be generous if you’re going to keep score.
You can’t go the 2nd mile unless you’re willing to go the 1st mile. If you’re not being generous now, you will not be so in the future.
Extra blessings result in extra effort.
When we give generously we can know that we will receive more than we ever deserved. We set the standard of what we will receive when we give. Give what you can, you have no idea what God is going to give you in return.
When we give, the impact of our giving will outlive us. What would our lives look like if Moses said I don’t do rivers or Noah said I don’t do boats or John the Baptist said I don’t do baptisms or Mary said I don’t do virgin births. Generous giving will outlive us.
Abraham was a friend of God.
Abraham teaches us that God always does the right thing, that God is always faithful.
It may take longer time than we anticipate for something to come to pass, but when God says something he keeps his promise.
Abraham became inpatient even after God had given him the promise.
God’s ways and sense of time is not like ours. God always does what is right and he always comes through.
God keeps his promise even if it seems absurd to us. God told Abraham he would have a child when he was 90 years old and Sarah laughed. How could this happen? Why did God wait so long?
God always does the right thing even if we question it. Abraham teaches us that God is not only righteous, but he is also right.
God always does the right thing even if we do not understand. God asked Abraham to kill his only son, why would he do that?
Abraham teaches us that perfection is not a prerequisite for God to work in our lives. Abraham teaches us that God’s blessings are not always merited.
God can take the ordinary extraordinary
No problem is too big that God cannot help.
We should ask for help before the problem is too big for us. When a problem is big, we should not get discouraged, we should get help.
We should get help when the problem becomes personal.
We should ask others for help after we have shared the problem with God. When Nehemiah heard of the problem, the first thing he did was talk to God. We should not carry the problems ourselves, talk to God.
We should ask others for help when we are willing to do our part. We should not try to take all of the load, but we should not try to get out of caring any of the load either.
We should ask others for help but we have a clear sense of the vision.
We should ask others for help when people repeatedly oppose us. Over and over others try to stop Nehemiah from his work. Motion causes friction. When God’s people try to move forward, the enemy attacks heavier.
It’s not always easy to ask for help, but don’t let fear or insecurities stop you from asking for help.
Not everyone will want to help, but some want to and will help. Sometimes we don’t need a miracle to do something, we just need others. We can run the race well, but we can not do it alone.
We are not meant to run this race alone.
- The servant of the house of Naaman
One small act can make all the difference.
The Bible only mentions her once, but this little girl spoke up about her God and what could be done while everyone else was in fear.
Naaman was a mighty man, everyone knew the man and he was very powerful, but this girl was not afraid to speak up. She spoke as if she did not fear although this could’ve got her in trouble. She could’ve played it safe and kept her mouth shut, but she did not.
She acted even though she was small. Many times we disregard what we can do because of personal limitations. She was a young girl in a masculine society, she was a child, she was a servant and she was a foreigner, but this did not stop her. She acted even though what she could do was small. They had tried everything to heal him undoubtedly, what could she say that would change their mind. She could not heal him, she could only suggest, but she did not let the insignificance of that stop her.
She acted even though the stakes were not small. He could have punished her harshly for speaking.
One small person doing one little act changed his life.
Not only was his skin changed, his faith was changed as well.
If you want to make a difference, have confidence – she believed that the man of God in her country could heal him.
If you want to make a difference, be credible – she was a servant but evidently did a good job or they would not have listen to her. People look more at your life than they listen to your words.
If you want to make a big difference, speak to people’s need – when people can’t help, help them.
If you want to make a difference, do something no matter how small it is
- King David
His father did not see his potential – even when the man of God came, he left David in the field assuming because most likely, he probably assumed, David would not be the chosen one.
David’s brothers did not think he had potential – David went to visit them at the battlefield, they tried to shut him up.
King Saul did not think that he had to potential – Saul said he could not go because he was just a youth and Goliath was a warrior from his youth.
Goliath did not believe that David had potential – when he came out against him, Goliath laughed and mocked him.
David did not let all of these obstacles stop him.
David teaches us that limitations do not stop us unless we let them. David realized he had the most potential because he had God potential.
David teaches us that we do not need to try to be someone else – when Saul gave him his armor, David said he could not use it and went to battle with what he had.
David teaches us to focus on what we can do with God not what we cannot do.
Jonathan was a kingmaker. Jonathan did not put David down, he lifted him up and strengthened him. His father, Saul, wanted to kill David.
Jonathan saw the big picture. Instead of wanting the kingdom for himself, he saw David with potential and worked at helping him.
Jonathan knew that helping David would further the kingdom more than anything else.
Jonathan gave up his own desires and visions of the throne in order to help someone else.
Jonathan teaches us the only when we see the important thing will we do the unimportant thing. Jonathan served David
Remember, it takes a lot of kingmakers to make a king.
You must decide with people if you’re going to help them or hurt them. What would have happened if Saul would’ve helped David, but he did not… yet Jonathan did.
As a supporter, you share in your leader’s success. As Jonathan helped his friend David, he served God. You do not have to be on the front lines in order to make an impact, you can do it right where you are by helping someone else.
The greatest need leaders lack is to have a Jonathan beside him. We do not have to wait in order to help others, we can do it right now.