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Dr. Ed Young - Living Up to Your Potential

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    Dr. Ed Young - Living Up to Your Potential
TOPICS: Potential

From Native American lore, there is a story that I just can't forget. An Indian brave was walking under a large, high cliff, and he looked down and saw an eagle's egg, and he picked up that eagle egg, and he couldn't climb the cliff to put it back in the nest, so he went and found some prairie chickens, some prairie chicken eggs, and the hen was hatching them, and he took that large eagle egg and put it among all the little prairie chicken eggs, and the mother prairie chicken never knew the difference. So all the prairie chickens hatched, and the eagle hatched, and the eagle just assumed he was a prairie chicken! And he would cluck, and scratch, and grub for worms, and once in a while fly about, you know, a foot or two off the ground, about 10 or 12 yards, and he lived his life an eagle, but yet thinking he was a prairie chicken.

And then about the middle of his life, he looked up one day in the heavens, and he saw this bird soaring through the sky with golden wings, catching a wind, and boy, he looked at his buddy and the eagle said, "Look at that! What is that"? He said, "That's an eagle, a changeling eagle. That's the king, the chief of all birds". Said, "Don't you pay any attention you'll never be able to fly like that"! So the eagle just looked up and admired the power, the majesty, and the magnificence of that flying eagle, thinking all the time he was just a prairie chicken, never realizing that he had all the capacity to be the eagle that God had designed. He lived a long time and died. An eagle died. His whole life, he thought he was a prairie chicken. There's a lot of prairie chickens in here today! Lot of us! Prairie chickens.

God had plans a design for your life, for my life. And we can't do anything about our environment. We can't do anything about our DNA, but we can do a whole lot about the choices we made, and a lot of times, we've made choices that lead us into a prairie chicken kind of lifestyle, rather than a lifestyle of an eagle. And by an eagle, doesn't mean that we're wealthy, or successful, or popular, or have a whole lot of pleasure, a whole of toys, that's not success. That's not what I mean by an eagle. An eagle is someone who becomes everything God designed that person to become. But still, a lot of us are content to being prairie chickens! And God must look down and say, "You know, when is she going to wake up? When is he going to come to his senses and begin to make wise choices"?

Solomon is talking about the fool, and he's talking about the wise. He's talking about folly, and he's talking about good sense, and that's what he's dealing with in this chapter. Look at the later part of verse 18: But one sinner destroys much good. Anybody want to debate with that? You go to a group, and one idiot there can ruin the whole party, the whole gathering, the whole family reunion. A whole high school reunion. Man, and so my point is, one sin can destroy somebody's life. I had a friend in Atlanta. He was an outstanding young man, great wife, kids. His wife one day told him that she'd had a brief affair with someone that they knew, and he just got up out of bed and got his shotgun. Said, "I'm gonna go kill him..." and his wife grabbed him and said, "No, no, no, no, we can work it out." and he put the shotgun down.

But the next morning, his wife called the police. Said she was frightened, and she was. Told the kids. Make a long story short, they were divorced, totally ruined. His employer fired him. He could not get a job, and years ago, his wife married the man she'd had a little affair with, and now they're divorced, and the whole family is messed up from top to bottom, and this guy has had a tough time having any kind of employment, because of what? Five minutes of acting like a prairie chicken in a crisis situation. It doesn't take long to mess up your life or to mess up my life, does it? Little things, a little sin. And then look what else a prairie chicken doesn't understand: Dead flies make a perfumer of oil stink, and a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor. A fly in the ointment.

Ever heard of that phrase? Boy, there's a fly in the ointment? Man, a little fly can make you question the whole thing you're eating. I remember the story of the guy who ordered soup, and there was a fly in his soup. He called the waiter over and says, "What is that fly doing in my soup"? And the waiter looked in and says, "Well, I think he's doing the backstroke". The bottom line is, a little fly in the ointment, one little sin, little thing. Prairie chickens, they don't get it! They don't realize the importance of little things. And then, Solomon continues with the same line of thinking. Look at it. He says, "A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish heart directs him toward the left".

There you have the Democratic, Republican Party, right here! I didn't write it! It's right in the Bible! And he says, "Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool". What is he saying? He's saying a little sin gets you in trouble! He said a little fly in anything destroys the whole, and he says one step in the wrong direction, your destination will be a disaster. If you are standing here and you want to walk a straight line for 100 yards, and you start off one degree, just one degree off that straight line, you will miss your goal by 5.2 feet. Okay? If you're standing right here and you decide to go to the moon, and you're just one degree off on your trip to the moon, you will miss the moon by 4,196 miles.

If you're standing here and you decide you want to go to the sun and you're one degree off, you'll miss the sun by 1.6 million miles. A little thing means a lot, and the whole purpose of Solomon is saying let's just look at your life, and I would say, or you and I, we have some birds in us, some prairie chicken in us, and therefore, we've got to look at these little things that we'd explained away and realize as life goes on, as it pushes out, it can end a million miles from a way we wanted to end up. When you get where you're going right now, where will you be? You see, if God doesn't work a change in our lives, if you're jealous now, you're 94 years old in a rest home, you're gonna be more jealous then than you are now!

The meanest people in the world are in rest homes! And the sweetest people in the world are in rest homes, because what we are now, we're becoming more, and more, and more of that. Unless we meet Christ, we're living like a prairie chicken, we're gonna end up more prairie chicken than when we began because we started a wrong direction. A little sin, a little misstep destination. Now, then, then Solomon starts. He tells us and shows us what a prairie chicken's lifestyle is. And I'm gonna move so fast, you'd better hold on, because these are all silly little things that prairie chickens do, you and I, and it's the mark of a prairie chicken and the mark of a fool. Look what he says: "If the ruler's temper rises against you, do not abandon your position because composure allays great offenses".

Here's a prairie chicken who has a job, and the boss comes in and reprimands him. Maybe the boss is wrong; maybe the boss is right; the boss is violent. Then the prairie chicken resigns! "I've got my pride"! What did Solomon say? He said, you know, back up. Take a time out. Consider the whole situation, and it may be the beginning of wisdom. If you are young, you may not know this. If you're old, you know this: It's easier to get a job when you have a job. When you don't have a job and you had a job, it's real tough to get a job! Mark that down. That is not prairie chicken wisdom, that's intelligent wisdom. So he's saying, here's somebody, oh somebody, "Oh, I resign! I'm out, I'm not gonna..." No, no. He says use some composure cool down. Good advice. Then he talks about leadership and it doesn't mean you're a CEO or you're a foreman, or you're a captain. It may mean you're the head of a home, a father. Maybe you have responsibility for children, a mother, and he says all of this is prairie chicken leadership.

Boy, we got a lot of it around, as we all know. Look at it, verse 8: "Folly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places. I've seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on land". He's not talking about slaves or princes. What he's really saying, he said I've seen people who have great ability, and they're working for people who have less ability, and he says, that's things upside down. He said that's what happens to prairie chickens. You get a prairie chicken in a place of authority, you got a problem, ladies and gentleman. I don't care what it is. A prairie chicken, man, they're exacting, they, they're overbearing. They don't understand anything about love, and graciousness, and compatibility, or how to reprimand, or deal with a situation through intelligence, and love, and graciousness.

Boy, that will ruin anything. A prairie chicken in leadership is a disaster every single time, and you see so many people making crazy statements in this world, taking unbelievable positions in this world. Prairie chickens unfortunately have been elected to high office and hold important positions in almost every corporation, company, organization on the planet, and boy, when they show themselves, it is an ugly sight indeed to behold! We're talking about prairie chicken leadership here! And look at all the things that happen, quickly! He digs a pit, may fall into it. You dig a pit to capture somebody else; you fall in your own trap! And a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. Here is somebody breaking through a wall to steal something, and they get bitten by a serpent as they're trying to break in and steal something.

I thought about the guy who was holding up the convenience store, and he went in there and he told the guy, he said, "You have change for a 50"? And he put a 50 dollar bill on the counter, and the man went over there and opened the cash register to get him change, and the robber went over there and pulled a gun and said, "Give me all the money in the cash register, all of it". So he dumped out all the money in the cash register, put it in a bag, and ran out. And the police came and said, "Well, what happened"? He said, "Well, he left his 50 bill here". He said, "How much was in the cash register"? Oh, said, "A little over $30". If I'd run the convenience store, I'd say, I hope he comes back tomorrow!

So we have here stupidity involved. And then he talks about he who quarries stone may be hurt by them. You're mining stone and rock, you better be careful. You can hurt by it... Then he says, who splits logs may be in danger by them How many here have ever split logs? You split logs? If you're not careful, bang! You'll hit your foot, cut your toe off. Man, prairie chickens do that all the time, don't they? He's giving us a warning of simple, silly things. And then he says, if the ax is dull, it does not sharpen the edge, then he must exert more strength. Hello! You're just hammering away, trying to cut a log, or cut a tree with an ax that's dull. Wouldn't it be good advice to sharpen the ax a little bit? It'd be a lot easier and quicker and better? No, no, no! Prairie chickens don't get that! We just hammer on through! Oh me. Sounds like things I've done. If a serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit to the charmer. Here's somebody who charmed snakes in that day.

By the way, snakes do not have ears. They have little slits. They respond only to vibrations. If the charmer has a snake in a bag and he forgets about him, the snake comes out and bites him, prairie chicken. I mean, a prairie chicken, every single time. Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a prairie chicken consume him. At the beginning of his talking is folly, and the end of it is wicked madness; yet, the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him? Words, words, words, words! Like the wife who said, "All my husband do is he talks, talks, talks, talks". I said, What is he talking about? And she said, "He never does say".

Ladies and gentlemen, when I am talking, or when you are talking, we're not learning a thing! We've got two ears, one mouth. Does that tell you anything? The prairie chicken talks, talks, talks, talks, talks. The toil of a fool, verse 15, so wearies him that he does not even know how to go to a city. You just work, work, work, why? I don't know, I just work, work, work. How foolish can it be? Blessed are you, O' land, whose king, whose leader is of nobility and princes who sit at the appropriate time, who eat at the appropriate time for strength and not for drunkenness. Here is someone who's incompetent because they're living a dissipated life. That happens all the time in the world. Prairie chicken.

And then look at verse 18. Through, indolence, laziness, the rafters sag, and through slackness, the house leaks. Men prepare a meal for enjoyment and wine and make them merry, and money's the answer. The house is falling in, but we're gonna eat, drink, and be merry, you know. Wouldn't bet on a hurricane! Let's have a hurricane party, and I'll get drunk and hope it comes and kills us. Happens all the time, doesn't it? Prairie chicken thinking. Then verse 22. Furthermore, in your bedchamber, do not curse the king, somebody in leadership. In your sleeping rooms, do not curse a rich man, somebody who is in authority for a bird of heaven may carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.

This is we get our expression, a little bird told me. That's where it comes from, right there that verse. How does that happen? I've got a friend. He had a three year old, and he had a boss, and he said, his boss came and, and the three year old, he said, "Mikey, this is" he gave the name of his boss, and three year old said, "Oh yes, you're the one they call stupid"! A little bird told me! You know, when we're negative in our family and our kids hear us castigate this person, talk about this, be upset about this, complain about this, and you wonder why they grow up to be complainers and negatives? You go to church, you say, Boy, in church today, did you hear what was said? I didn't like that. Boy, in church, what they did and they grow up not wanting to worship the house of I wonder how that happened, dad, mom?

You see, there's a lot of. Let me answer that phone. Other day, I was in a meeting, and my phone rang! It's the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen in my life! Prairie chickens, prairie chickens. Now! Let's land this plane briefly! Let's find a prairie chicken and just stretch him out and look at him. You know one of the biggest prairie chickens in the Bible was Jacob? Oh yeah, Abraham man, he was a slick arter. He passed his wife off as his sister twice to save his hide. Isaac means laughter, and he was a joke. He was a passive father, and nothing is more deadly to a family than a passive dad. Write that down. And then you have Jacob. His name means flim-flam man, con-artist, slick. Exactly what his name means. He lived up to it just like his grandfather and his father.

And then Jacob conned his brother, Esau, out of the main inheritance in the family in conjunction with his mother, who was a slick operator in and of herself. And then Esau comes and says, "I'm going to kill ya" and Jacob runs to the other side of the fertile crescent, the Tigris and Euphrates River, and he's in hiding in order to save his hide from his brother, Esau, who was gonna kill him because he stole all of his inheritance. Man, some kind of guy, isn't he? And he gets there, and he goes up to his Uncle Laban in his mother's side of the family, and he hires him to look after the flocks. He is a very successful shepherd, and finally, Laban, Laban comes to him and says, "Look, we want you to stay here and be in charge of my flocks. What will I have to pay you"?

You know what his answer was? Rachel. Oh yeah! Rachel, the younger, beautiful daughter of Laban. "I want Rachel". Laban says, "Okay, we'll cut a deal where you can have Rachel". And I want you to listen to these verses. They are so descriptive. Stay with me! We see a prairie chicken in action in Jacob. Genesis 29:16 following. Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah. The name of the younger was Rachel, and Leah's eyes were weak. Don't know exactly what that means, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. She was a knock-out, Miss America. Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, "I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter, Rachel".

Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than to just another man. Stay with me. So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but for a few days because of his love for her". And then we see, verse 21, then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my time is completed" and literally it says here in the translation, "that I may go into her" it says, "that I might have sex with her". That's literally in the Hebrew.

Now what happened? The Bible story, it's two con art artists. Laban was slick, Jacob was slick. Who was the slickest? And so, what Laban did, they had a big wedding. Everybody got drunk, and so it came time for the father, as was tradition, to take the daughter out to her husband, who was waiting in the tent. He took Leah and covered her up in all kinds of beautiful gowns, and took her and gave her to Jacob. He thought it was Rachel. He was so drunk, he didn't know. It was dark; and so the marriage was consummated there. And then you have this terrific little verse here that you might overlook in verse 25, Genesis 29. It says, so it came about in the morning that behold, it was Leah!

"Well, I thought I married Rachel. I went to bed, oh, and it is Leah". What's the point? Jacob was never loved by his dad. Jacob lost the love of his mother. Jacob was hated by his brother, who put a contract on him. He knew nothing about the love of God, but when he saw beautiful Rachel, he said, "Ah! If I could have that love, I would have everything worked out in my life. If I could have her, I would be complete. I would be whole. I would be somebody. I would have purpose".

Follow me, ladies and gentlemen! Nobody and nothing under the sun will satisfy any human being. You say, oh, if I could have that Rachel, for some would be that particular job. The Rachel for some would be, 'If I could have that house. If I could have those kind of children. If I could take that trip. If I could have those kind of resources. If I could have this, this. There are a lot of things in this world we think are Rachels, and they'd satisfy us. But if we ever get them, you'll discover every single time that you thought you went to bed with a Rachel, and you had Rachel, and every time, you'll wake up with a Leah that will not satisfy. There's only one thing that'll satisfy. Nothing under the sun will satisfy, but him who came from above the sun, who is our bridegroom, and all of us are his bride. He alone in this life will begin for us to find satisfaction in this life, and in the life to come, and when he comes into a life, he wants to come and give us that which we most need as Christians, godly wisdom. Because we're sick, most of us, of acting and living like prairie chickens!
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