U.S. industrial production continues to increase while utilization has become relatively flat at nearly 80 percent of capacity. The use of better robotic, computing and telecommunication technologies; more efficient supply chains; and more effective communication channels have allowed output to trend upward.
But, unused capacity remains stagnant at about 20 percent. Potential is unrealized.
Unrealized potential harms economies. Unused industrial capacity, a lack of economic freedom, a poor educational system, diminished infrastructure and/or a host of other factors can contribute to unrealized economic potential. The result is a lower standard of living, diminished incomes, higher unemployment, and a more frustrated or disheartened populace.
Unrealized potential hinders the work of the saints, our churches, and spread of the gospel. The gap between potential and realization needs to be narrowed in the kingdom. We are citizens in the kingdom and sons or daughters of the King of Kings. Saints have unlimited potential regardless of their past or present experiences or circumstances.
Saul of Tarsus persecuted the church. Peter denied the Lord. John Mark deserted his missionary companions. Mary Magdalene had seven demons. And Thomas was known as a doubter. The world desperately needs individuals, families, churches and ministries to reach their God-given, God-enabled, and God-directed potential.
As ministers, we have a responsibility to encourage, teach and equip the saints to achieve their full potential; the perfect plans and purposes of God for their lives. The good news should become real in their lives. They need to move from infant to mature Christian. We need to teach, exhort, and model the Good News of the Kingdom. The following time-tested axioms should help:
- Emphasize relationship with Jesus. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10, NASB).
- Teach the Kingdom. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matt. 6:33, NASB).
- Stress knowledge of the Word, obedience and prayer. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7 NASB).
- Emphasize the companionship, guidance, fruit and power of the Holy Spirit ... for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 14:17, NASB).
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (Eph. 3:20, NASB).
Let us be diligent. Let us wise. Let us be true to the Lord. Let us honor the God-given, God-enabled, and God-directed potential in each of the individuals under our charge.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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