• Dr. Dan Haifley

You can make a difference

"And of some have compassion, making a difference:" Jude 1:22

When children are young we teach them about the little train that could overcome obstacles way beyond its capabilities. We describe the American dream as being able to reach for the stars and become anything you dream of becoming.

We teach the concept that we should always be reaching for the next rung on the ladder of success and be constantly trading our education and experience for a little higher position or status. While that mindset may be inspiring and might help people push beyond their limitations and see success in their lives, it misses another point that is very important. A person that may seem overqualified for a particular position might just make that position the best it has ever been. Maybe we should be using our education and experience to improve the place we are planted.

John Frederic Oberlin was one who understood this idea. Born in 1740 in Strasburg to a well known scholar and professor, he grew up with one of the best educations possible at that time. After much experience in the University and then as a chaplain in the armed forces, his resume grew and he became respected and desired to be the lead pastor in several churches. He turned down the most prestigious positions in Europe for a ministry in the country side of France. His prayer was that God would put him in a place were he could use all of his gifts. Living on a salary equivalent to $200 a year he toiled for many years in the rough uncivilized areas of the country. He built bridges and schools. He taught farming skills and preached freedom to the masses. His skills which could have made him very wealthy and famous instead were used to make the countryside better.

Maybe you feel like you are overqualified for the position you are in. Maybe you feel like you are being overlooked for the promotion you desire. Why not try Oberlin's approach? See if you can make your area of responsibility better than it was when you came to it. You can be a difference maker right were you are.

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