"Shows a great deal of promise, not fulfilling it". "Never realises potential." "Could do a lot better". How would you respond to reading those comments on your child's report card? Perhaps the greatest waste in the world is unrealised potential. People who have a great deal to offer, but never get around to developing it to the full.
When Hosea describes Israel (Ephraim) as a flat cake not turned over (7:8), he writes such a report card for them. A flat cake - pressed into the sides of the oven or rested on the burning coals - would have sent out a tantalising aroma to those around. Yet in order to be cooked properly it needed to be turned, otherwise it would burn on one side and never be fit for anything. Israel had not reached her potential, just as the flat cake never reached its potential to satisfy the taste buds.
Most never realise potential because they fail to stay committed to achieving their best. An air of complacency sets in, usually because they have accepted the encouraging accolades of others. Israel's complacency was due to her history, and her residence in the land. The church today can become complacent - resting on the laurels of previous years' effective ministry, or just comfortable of knowing their "special status" in God. Complacency is a sure seed of death. It is a pre-requisite for unrealised potential. It is a denial of the reason that God has called us into being. May it never be said of us that we have let our potential under God be unfulfilled.
February 6, 1994
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