Visit Inspirational Contemplation to read Maximum Potency Part I

Guest Columnist: Vanessa L. Miller


And the Lord said unto Gideon, by the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand… Judges 7:7

We all know the familiar scripture that says God’s ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts, but still it is difficult at times to see how God is able to do more with less, when our inclination is that we need more than what we have to do anything great.

Growing up in a very small church, I’ve heard all of the clichés about not counting numbers, but making numbers count, and brightening the corner where you are, etc.  I honestly really never bought any of that, because it usually came from the mouths of people who had more to work with, and were striving to get still more.  What I seldom witnessed, however, was any of these churches, small or large, efficiently using the resources they had available to them.  It’s sad, but most times still, when I observe a congregation I see more potential in packages (wrapped up sitting on the shelf) than potential in progress (moving toward something).

But the story of Gideon says something about potential and potency.  All of those thousands of men he had at the outset were only strong in numbers, but not in unity and in heart.  The lesson I took away from this is that even if you have large numbers of people with you, it can be deceitful.  If their hearts are not with you, it is a false sense of security that can fail you at your most vulnerable time.  Instead of rallying to your side, they may forsake and flee.   What people say, and what’s in their hearts can be two very different things.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.  Proverbs 23:7

Which brings us to the idea of maximum potency.  As I stated in Part I, it has to do with the removing of all fillers and unnecessary ingredients in order to obtain greater concentration and focus.  This principle applies to individual lives, but as the story of Gideon so vividly illustrates, it also applies to group efforts.

The first thing that stands out, is that God called Gideon and gave him the mission.  We must be sure that our endeavors originate not with man, but with God.  That way, we are building on a rock and not the shifting sand of fallible people.  Whether numbers increase or decrease, whether your most trusted associates forsake you; you will still have as insurance, that Blessed Assurance that God is faithful.  What he has said, he will do.

Next, we must realize that if we are doing something great and effective, especially for the Kingdom of God, we may not only attract those that are like-minded, but people with various other motives and agendas.  Just because they are there, doesn’t mean they are there for you or your vision.  I’m reminded of the Israelites in Ezra 4:1-4.  As they built the temple, others came and said, “Let us build with you.”  It was not long before it was discovered that their true motives were actually to weaken the hands of the Israelites and to take away their focus.

I believe our efforts are diluted because, especially in the church, we welcome any help offered and never take a moment to see whether it fits God’s instructions.  What started as a pure endeavor to please God can be sabotaged by those who’ve gained leverage and began pulling in the direction of their agenda.   Before you know it, politics have entered the camp and you and God are being threatened with an overthrow.   I know a lot of churches find themselves hurting for resources at times, but we should never compromise our vision in the name of achieving our vision.

This is a difficult subject, because by no means am I saying that we should sit up and fret about who is for us and against us or be paranoid about someone taking what is ours.  What I am saying is that we should vigilantly guard the work that God has assigned to each of our hands.   We should not allow a hireling to come and damage or derail our focus, making us less effective in the very thing we have been called to do.  In Gideon’s case, it wasn’t a personal thing.  In fact, it was mostly a matter of dismissing those who didn’t want to be there anyway.  Hmmm…  twenty-two thousand men showed up for battle and in their heart of hearts, that is not where they wanted to be.   Gideon ultimately found out that both he and they were better off if they went their way.  The other ninety seven hundred were not so easy to dismiss, but they simply did not have the innate skill to do the job at hand.  They weren’t bad people, this task just wasn’t for them at this time, but the victory when it was won, was for all of them, even the ones that went home.   Similarly, the endeavors that benefit your church or group are for the benefit of the whole, not just those that are selected to work in that particular area.  Any hard feelings can be quickly assuaged with the knowledge that though this may not be my calling and it might not be for me to work with this particular area right now, but there is a calling and a purpose specifically for me.  If I involve myself with finding, and then working that purpose, I have no time to spend worrying about things I wasn’t called to do.

I think that one of the biggest problems in church today is not lack of numbers or failure to be relevant.  I think that at the very root is an identity crisis.  People that don’t know who they are and their own God-given purpose tend to run to where they feel God is doing something great and try to jump in there (I know because I used to be one of these people).  But because that is not their call or assigned work, they are like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, ministering havoc and hindrance to those who are trying to work and grown in what God has called them to do.  When even one person fails to stay in their lane, the result can be a terrible accident that may cause someone to get hurt or killed, and will certainly delay us all from getting to our destination.

While the problem may never be completely eliminated, it can be greatly reduced by focusing on one’s goal and destination, and being prayerful as to who you select or permit to be on the frontline of moving the vision forward.  Everyone will help or benefit in some capacity, but everyone wasn’t called to be by your side, in your ear, or even on your team.  You may look at what’s left and think it’s not enough to get the job done, but just remember that tiny cup of “concentrated” laundry detergent, or Gideon and his modest three hundred men, and know that your main active ingredient is really all you ever need.  “If God be for you…”

Vanessa L. Miller is a multi-talented writer, musician, graphic artist, and a diligent intercessor and student of the Word. A native of Utah, Vanessa currently resides in Reno, Nevada where she serves faithfully at Rehoboth Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. Follow Vanessa’s blog, Inspirational Contemplation, at