News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Carolyn Brown

Potential for greatness in everyone

Last year I had the opportunity to assist my church's Birmingham evangelism team serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless in a park. A young mother in the park caught my eye. At first glance, it seemed she and her two little boys were just enjoying a day in the park. Her oldest asked one of our ministers to pray for his mother because she was sad.

After we prayed, she told us how she and her children became homeless. There is one thing about that day I will never forget. Her 10-year-old son said, "We may be homeless now, but someday I will be the president."

Man is God's most precious creation. We are the only beings that God created in his image. God has placed in every human the potential for greatness. The Bible says that your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men. Within the gift that God has given you, greatness lies. Mother Theresa possessed great love. As she used that love to benefit humanity, she gained the respect of leaders all around the world and from every religion.

As new jails and prisons are going up every day, it makes us wonder what happened. If God truly intended for us to be prosperous and successful, why are we losing so many to drugs, crime and promiscuity?

Expectation drives potential

The answer is simple. Expectation is the fuel that drives potential. Potential ceases to flourish where expectation has died. When a person no longer expects great things to happen, he or she abandons all efforts.

Prisons are full of prolific writers and gifted artists. One such artist went back to his prison dorm and drew a portrait of my daughter from a photograph he'd seen on my desk. I asked him why he never used his talent in the free world. He said he'd always enjoyed drawing. Even as a child, he would draw pictures for his mother and father. No one ever told him that his work was good until he was in prison. How sad is that?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Rejection, disappointment and abuse are thieves of hope. They rob people of the simple pleasures of life and leave them emotionally crippled. Many embark on a search for something or someone to mend what's broken and replace what's missing. They often meet other hopeless and broken people and begin to victimize each other.

Maybe someone is reading this and feels hopeless. Maybe you are growing older and feel it is too late for you to be successful. Perhaps you are reading this from a jail cell and you are despairing. I have hope for you: God longs to give you a new level of expectation and ignite your potential. Your life is not over yet. Today can be the beginning of a whole new life for you.

The little homeless boy in the park said he would be president some day. His mother wrote us two weeks later and said she'd found a job and they were moving into their own home. If you can't start over, bloom where you are. Your potential is waiting on you.

The Rev. Carolyn Brown, an associate minister at Jubilee House of Prayer, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Rev. Carolyn Brown Rev. Carolyn Brown

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