they were not lost in the crowd; they grew up to became pace setters; and they were celebrated by the people of their time. Some of them even became indispensable. They became examples for others to emulate.
Some of these special people are: Joseph, David, Samuel, Esther, Mary, Timothy, Daniel and the three Hebrew Children.
What made them so special?
There are two things that are common to all of these great people which made them so outstanding:
The first thing is submission to earthly authorities, which I believe God saw in them before He chose to use them so mightily. Submission is defined as a willingness to yield or surrender to somebody. It is a virtue that is best learnt when one is growing up rather than being forced to submission by law as an adult. People who are rebellious in life are people who didn’t grow up with this very important virtue.
David submitted himself to his father. He didn’t question his father’s authority when he was sent to the farm to take care of the flock alone. It was that act of submission that qualified him before God to become the greatest king of Israel. He further proved that submission was a way of life for him when he entered into the royal service under Saul. Even when Saul had lost focus, when the Holy Ghost had left him, David remained submissive to the royal authority which Saul represented.
Samuel submitted himself to the authority of Eli in the temple and he was lifted and found as a better replacement for Eli instead of Eli’s children. He bridged the gap between the judges and the prophets – a very strategic point in the history of Israel’s relationship with God.
Esther was very submissive to her uncle (father) and that act of submission led her to the throne as a replacement for queen vashti who was dethroned because of her pride. Esther eventually became the saviour of the Jews from the extermination plotted by the wicked Haman the enemy of the Jews.
From the few examples given above, one thing that is very clearly striking is that submission to authority is directly connected to promotion in life. If I see a young person who is submissive, I have no doubt in my mind that such a young person will be very great in life. It is like the law of sowing and reaping. If you sow submission, you will surely reap submission several thousand or million fold. What God is looking for are people who will submit to Him so that He can use them to fulfil His plans for mankind, especially at this end time. God is not interested in people who will question, argue and rationalize His instructions. The way He picks such people out is by assessing how much they are submissive to the human authorities. If God can find you submissive to your parents, teachers, pastors, governments, etc He knows that you will not find it difficult to submit to Him, because that would have proven to Him that submission is your way of life.
The second thing is resistance to temptations. Nobody can outgrow temptations. No one is beyond the reach of the long and diverse arms of the monster called T-E-M-P-T-A-T-I-O-N. To be tempted means to be lured, enticed, attracted, pulled or induced to do that which is considered wrong or inappropriate before God. Great people are not people without temptations but they are people who have learnt to take control of temptations and turn them around to their own advantage. If the great men and women of old were tempted, we can be sure that we too will be tempted. Jesus, Moses, David, Joseph, Paul, etc were all tempted. Temptation is not sin in itself; it is what you do with the temptation that will determine the result.
Temptation is like a promotional examination. Every student looks forward to the end of each academic year so that they will write the promotional exams. It is the promotional exams that will determine their promotion, repeat or demotion. The same thing is applicable to temptations. You can not grow spiritually without temptations. Every temptation you fail to overcome will be repeated. It may be repackaged to look different, but it is still a repeat of the one you failed because God will not promote you until you overcome it.
Joseph was a young man who was exposed to one of the strongest temptations that most young people are facing today. He had a free offer from the wife of his master. It was a ‘perfect’ presentation of temptation. There was opportunity to be with her alone on a daily basis because the bible says she was persuading him day-by-day. For Joseph, it was like being caught between the devil and a deep blue sea. Joseph was able to make the right choice, he confronted the devil headlong. He spelt it out to Mrs Portiphar that he would not fall for her temptation because it would mean him sinning against God.
He didn’t care about the suffering that will follow his choice. He knew that overcoming that temptation will surely lead to promotion for him in God’s own school of spiritual promotion. Joseph was sent to prison because he chose to confront the devil in his master’s wife, but the prison brought him closer to the throne than Portiphar’s house. If Joseph did not overcome that temptation, he could have aborted his dreams or delayed the fulfilment. Joseph eventually went from the prison to the throne in fulfilment of his dreams.
Daniel and his friends were equally tempted. They had the ‘priviledge’ of eating the ‘special’ food and drink that came from the king’s table, but they chose to stand out of the crowd. They refused to eat those ‘contaminated’ foods. Those foods were spiritually contaminated because they were offered first to the idols of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon before they were brought to the king’s table. Eating such foods would render them unclean before God. They became outstanding in that strange land because of their ability to resist temptations. Daniel was cast into the lions’ den and he came out alive. His three friends were cast into the fiery furnace and they also came out alive.
All these people were outstanding in their generations because they dared to stand out. Greatness in the next generation is reserved for the few young people who will dare to stand out. Those who blend with the crowd will melt in the crowd while those who stand out of the crowd will stand on top of the crowd. The crowd will bow to anyone who dares to stand out of it. Stand out today and you will be outstanding.