It’s been said that of all the great tragedies that occur to men and women everywhere, the greatest tragedy of all is that of a wasted life. There’s a story I came across, which you may have heard, about a man that found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All of his life the eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did whatever the other prairie chickens would do. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and feathers no more than a few feet off the ground for a short distance. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly.
Years passed, and the eagle grew old. One day, he saw a magnificent bird, far above in the cloudless sky, hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents. It soared with scarcely a flap of its strong golden wings. “What a beautiful bird!” said the eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?”
“That’s an eagle, the chief of the birds,” the neighbor clucked. “But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.” So, the eagle never gave it another thought. And it died thinking it was a prairie chicken. The eagle died listening to a dumb cluck, failing to recognize the purpose for which he was created.
All too often we Christians develop an attitude like that prairie chicken. Somewhere some individual, or group, of dumb clucks, has told us that making a difference for the Kingdom of God is only for pastors, missionaries, or evangelists like Billy Graham. After all, making a significant impact on our world is only for the professionals. And we’re just prairie chickens who are never meant to soar like eagles. So how does one become a difference maker for God?
One of the keys to creating a successful business, to leading a successful military campaign, or really, anything we set out to do in life is to have a clear strategy or plan. You may have heard the old adage, “failure to plan is planning to fail.” There is some truth to that. Every plan is made up of goals which are set to help us toward successfully caring out that plan. It’s the same with becoming a difference maker. Whether or not Elijah was clear on what the goals were for this prophetic ministry which God had given him, I think it’s evident that God had a purpose for him and Elijah obeyed God, even if reluctantly at times. In this passage we can see at least three God honoring goals that we should have in our own lives and ministries as a difference maker. Yes, being a difference maker is a ministry. We may not get paid to do it, but we are all called to that ministry. So, you’re in ministry whether you like it or not.
There may be other goals that you have, but I believe that at the very least, these three are essential for your successful ministry as a difference maker. I suggest that you get a good handle on mastering these three before you set any other goals.
Goal #1: Obey God, No Matter What the Cost (1 Kings 18:1-6)
There are a few things we should consider when we obey God. First, Obeying God always involves counting the cost.
Something else we must consider as we obey God is: Obeying God means that our hearts must beat in sync with God’s heart. Jesus promised that a heart that beats in sync with God’s heart not only loves to obey God but will also be a joyful heart. In John 15:10-11, Jesus told his disciples,
When you obey me you are living in my love, just as I obey my Father and live in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow! (TLB)
An obedient heart, one beating in sync with God’s heart, will be a heart that is filled with joy. A consistently, obedient heart will be overflowing with joy. If you wonder why your heart is not filled with the joy of the Lord, maybe you should consider asking Him where you are not being obedient.
Goal #2: Develop a Single-Minded Devotion To His Calling On Your Life. (1 Kings 18:7)
There are many things, even good things, that can draw us away from the Lord’s calling on our lives. So many things seduce us into distraction to the point that the Lord gets unintentionally pushed aside. We don’t need more money or a better job to serve the Lord. We don’t even need specialized training. You and I can serve Him exactly where we are no matter what our position is. Your calling is to glorify and honor Him above everything and everyone else. You are called to worship and serve God and to be a faithful witness to His marvelous love, grace and forgiveness through Jesus to those around you no matter where you are or what your circumstances might be. That’s your first calling. Anything beyond that, we need only to ask Him. Jesus promised His disciples, “if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
Is your goal to obey God? Is your heart beating in sync with God’s? If not, why not? Reject the distractions and the allurements of the world. The author of Hebrews wrote, “let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around your feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.”