Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Impact of One

Once in a while, we excitedly read or hear about truly exceptional people with remarkable worldly achievements, but we immediately tell ourselves, ‘that is them, this is us.’

We assume that such people fall into a small category of ‘the chosen few;’ that they possess rare talents bestowed upon them through a special anointing unavailable to the rest of us.

We resign ourselves to being average because we don’t believe we could ever be outstanding.
We passively accept our role as followers, never leaders.

And yet how is anyone called to have a remarkable impact? Do we have to be born with a special gene that predisposes us to commanding the world’s attention? Or were the epic leaders we revere today once ordinary men and women; like you and me?

If we go as far back as Biblical times, we see that leaders are not always born; they can be made. But one has to respond to the call of being a leader.

One of the greatest leaders, Moses, was not born a leader. In fact, Moses had a death sentence on his head even before he was born. Egypt’s Pharaoh at the time so feared the mushrooming population of the Hebrew slaves, that he ordered the execution of all Israelite boys upon birth.

To save Moses, his sister placed him in a basket on the River Nile and despite his precarious start, Moses was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter and grew up surrounded by luxury.
Only Moses’ temper, which led him to murder an Egyptian officer whom he caught beating a Hebrew slave, turned him into an outcast. He fled to the desert where he settled into a life of relative obscurity and tranquility.

But that’s not why God created Moses, so He interrupted his benign existence and demanded that he go and lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses was reticent; lacking in self-confidence. He doubted he could have the type of impact that could alter the course of an entire people’s destiny. He protested: “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
God had to reassure him, “surely I will be with thee.”

Even then, Moses sought any excuse not to leave his comfort zone. He argued that the Egyptians would never let the Israelites go. He even tried to use his speech impediment as an excuse: “I am not eloquent, but am slow of speech and of a slow tongue.”

But God, who made Moses, knew his potential, so He insisted: “”I will be with thy mouth and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Exodus 4: 10-12). Several supernatural signs later, including a burning bush that was not consumed by fire, Moses finally believed and felt empowered enough to heed God’s call.

Consider the prophet Jeremiah – unlike Moses, who was eighty-five when he lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Jeremiah was young when he was called to be a prophet.

God reminded Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

God created Jeremiah for a purpose, but Jeremiah tried to recoil from it: “I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

Yet God assured him: “Do not say I am a youth…whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you.” (Jeremiah verse 7-8).

Finally, Isaiah the prophet – when he received the call to become a prophet, similarly pleaded for his inadequacies, lamenting that he was a sinner. But after an angel purged him of his sin, when God asked, “whom shall I send;” he responded emphatically: “here I am, send me!”

It’s easy to tell ourselves that such people, given their enduring impact on the world, are somehow different from us but the truth is, they’re not. They didn’t come from privileged, unblemished backgrounds.

Moses was an octogenarian sheep herder when he lead the Israelites out of Egypt; Jeremiah was young and inexperienced; and Isaiah was a self-confessed sinner. Yet none of that mattered. When they were called to lead, they were also empowered.

God made us to carry out great works, regardless of our age or background. Don’t ignore your burning bush. Don’t squander your gifts because you feel ill-equipped to achieve anything great.
Your call may not come in the form of an angel perched above our bed at night, urging you to share your talents. It may come disguised as a discarded dream that keeps resurfacing in your mind, no matter how hard you try to make it go away.

As Jeremiah said, “I feel like giving up, but your word in my heart is like fire shut up in my bones.’ (Jeremiah verse 9).

Pay attention to God’s word in your heart; those dreams that seem so outrageous in their grandiosity, they scare you. That’s God speaking to you from the depths of your soul, urging you to do something great. Trust that He will be with you; and teach your mouth what to say.
If God gave you the desire to pursue a path, he also gave you the ability to reach your destination. Even if you only have the desire; and not the know-how, boldly declare “send me!”
One person, YOU, can have an enduring impact!

(The Impact of One is the theme of this year’s National Convention being organised by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Botswana in Francistown from 7-9 October 2011. Please join me and other participants as we discuss leadership and personal transformation, amongst other exciting topics. We need you to make an impact!

For further details, please call: Ngwatshi on 3922218 or email: [email protected]).
*Primrose Oteng is a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP); and the Founder of the Positive Peace Project, an organization dedicated to creating positive change through personal empowerment. To find out more please contact [email protected]

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