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Did Jesus achieve his full potential?

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

Description: Achieving personal potential is made out to be important, but Jesus was only concerned with achieving his purpose. What’s the difference?

So much of life these days is about achieving our own personal potential. We can feel pressured – really pressured. It’s as if there’s a (mostly) unspoken accusation that failure to excel continuously equates to failure as a person.


The pace of life doesn’t help. Communication has to be instant. Results have to be delivered yesterday. We have to look great every day in every way at the drop of a hat. Fast resolutions have to be found to deflate complex family/work tensions. The list goes on.


So what about Jesus?

He set an example for so much in life, yet he failed to achieve his potential. This may seem irreverent, but he had the power and knowledge to rule the world. Instead he ended up crucified. It’s as if achieving his personal potential meant absolutely nothing to him.


Still, there’s no doubting he could have achieved anything he wanted. The New Testament positively pulses with his wisdom. He could rustle up a parable in the blink of an eye and pierce the heart with the power of his message. He could face down his opponents by using their own arguments against them and attract people in their thousands to hear what he had to say.


No rush

And he didn’t exactly rush about doing it. The fastest transport he ever used was a donkey – and they’re more renowned as beasts of burden than sprinters. This means he did it all at walking pace, mainly between stops in villages, boats, desert places and mountainsides.


Could this be a subtle hint for us? After all, he is the foundation stone of a religion that embraces about 2.3 billion people – that’s nearly a billion more than the world’s largest country and far more than are served by the biggest global enterprise.


Potential versus purpose

Truth is: Jesus wasn’t interested in his own potential, but in his purpose. Certainly, he could have pursued his own self interests and been fantastically successful in human terms. Instead, he dedicated all his considerable talents to achieving the purpose set by his Father. Next to that, nothing mattered.


Maybe this is something we need to reflect on and, like Jesus, pray about. What really counts in the end is not how fast we rush around, how many tasks we can juggle, or our success (however measured). It’s whether or not we use the talents God has given us to achieve the purpose he has set for us.


First step

Pausing long enough to hear what God wants is the first step. Asking for guidance and support comes in the same breath. And God will help because we’ll be doing what he wants. Then, just like Jesus, we’ll be able to complete our individual missions for our Father in Heaven. Isn’t that why we’re here?



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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