(Looking Forward to the Day When) Everybody′s Killin′ Giants

Inspired by a brilliant Ben Domenech piece (The Lessons Of David And Goliath For The Tea Party And The Establishment)…

I’m reprinting this October 5, 2009 piece from my faith blog, because I think it offers a useful insight into the dynamic that seems to follow giant-killers in every generation and field of endeavor:

Everybody′s killin′ giants…

Regensburg: David and Goliath by bill barber

When David killed Goliath, pretty much everybody thought this was an amazing, rare thing. And indeed it was.

It’s interesting, though, to see—as time passes and the years go by—giant-killing becoming pretty common. Almost a fad.

Why is that?

I was a high school freshman when Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant. The patient survived 18 days before succumbing to pneumonia. His next patient survived 19 months. Meanwhile, Americans Norman Shumway and Denton Cooley began transplants. Success was counted in days, and then months, before it was eventually counted in years. At one point, most surgeons stopped performing the operation until the development of better drugs helped the body accept the hearts, but not the infections that almost always developed with the drugs then available.

By the time I graduated from college, though, heart transplants were so common the newspapers stopped reporting them.

Why is that?

I have seen communities where divorce is common and hopelessness reigns in a majority of marriages. Or so it seems.

Then one couple finds the way to restoration, their marriage saved. Then another. And another.

Why is that?

I think it’s because, for most folks, seeing is believing. As long as all they see is a hopeless situation, hopelessness is reality to them.

They believe what they see.

But that doesn’t mean they’re seeing what they want. What they wish for with all their hearts. When they see the miracle, when confronted with the reality of something they wished for but never thought possible…

What they believe changes 180 degrees from what they expected.

Sometimes all that stands in the way of a better way for those who share our world—who wish for something better, but dare not believe in what they wish for—is for us to believe. And for us to change in a way that lets the world see—maybe for the first time—the very real possibilities. Possibilities that were there all the time. Unseen and unclaimed.

Long term, most people aren’t persuaded by the high muckety-mucks we usually think of as leaders, whether in church or corporation or politics.

They’re persuaded by what they see happening with their friends. What their friends value, what their friends choose. They believe what their friends believe. They believe what they see happening in their friends′ lives.

For good or ill.

The truly effective leader knows who he is and where he is going, and by the example of his life and the power of his words, brings others with him.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

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