Monday, September 20, 2010

Vision and Potential

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Acts 9:15  "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."
Vision and Potential
When my grandfather, Bill Rice, first came to the Ranch in 1950, none of the buildings existed that you can see today.  In fact, the hillside on which an auditorium and dining hall sit was nothing but a thicket of scrawny, scrubby cedar trees.  You literally couldn't see twenty feet in front of you!  But when Bill Rice stood on that hillside, he envisioned a dining hall and a tabernacle.  When there were not cabins for campers or a lake down the hill, Bill Rice saw the potential.
If you come to the Ranch today, and all you see is a dining hall, some cabins, and an auditorium, you are merely seeing what my grandfather saw sixty years ago!  What Bill Rice did, and what we should do, is see the potential.  Potential is seeing what can be, not merely what is already there.  The truth is, ministry is not about buildings or great crowds; ministry is about what can be in the people you serve.
In Acts 9, God told Ananias to go looking for a man named Saul of Tarsus.  Saul (as you may well know) was no ordinary man-he had hunted down Christians and persecuted them!  Yet on the road to Damascus, Saul was saved and Ananias was given the task of helping him.  What we learn from this story is that God has the power to unlock potential.  He doesn't merely see what is; He sees what can be.
In any ministry or service to God, much of what you see may not be encouraging. Teaching a Sunday school class, working at camp, or helping run a bus route is not always easy and gratifying work!  If all you see are unruly kids, ungrateful adults, and energy-zapping work, you are going to live a life of discouragement.  If you instead see what can be and what God can do, you will live a life of vision and adventure!
Ananias is largely an obscure character in the Bible.  Most of us probably skim right over him in the larger story of Saul's conversion.  However, Ananias was obedient to God despite Saul's reputation and despite his own bias (verses 13-17).  You may have a hard time seeing the potential in someone or something, but you can always be obedient to the God who does see potential.
What came of all this is that Ananias had ministry through Saul that exceeded his wildest dreams!  Shortly after their meeting, we are told in verse 31 that the churches had "rest . . . and were edified . . . and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."  Saul was the one who preached, but Ananias had a direct part in what happened!
You may not be a visionary this morning, but God is.  If you will simply be obedient to the light God gives you, He will give you light beyond your own limited vision.

Prayer Requests
1. Bill Rice Ranch Junior High Retreat today through Wednesday
2. Services tonight in Hoopeston, IL and Eastlake, OH
Browse our fall events schedule on our website:
Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

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