I want to tell you a true story about this very thing. Dr. Myles Munroe was invited to speak at a leadership conference in Zimbabwe to 5000 people. After the event, the host asked him to speak to a village four hours away in the bush.
Dr. Munroe met the chief of the village and the chief took him to a thatch roof house to speak to a group of 400 people. Afterwards, the chief told him a story, a story that teaches what is keeping us from reaching the potential that we really possess.
One beautiful morning, there was a farmer of goats and sheep that took the sheep out to graze in the hills of Zimbabwe, when he heard a sound in the bush. It was like a little kitten. He walked towards the sound and saw a baby kitten creature, all wet and shivering from the wet damp of the morning. Suddenly he realized what it was, it was a lion cub. He quickly turned and ran to the highest rock because he knew if he was recognized by the mother or the father of this creature, he would be killed. He stayed there for hours, waiting, shivering, but no lion came for the baby cub.
As the sun began to set, he wondered what to do. If he left the lion cub, it would die. So he took the chance, walked out from behind the rock , looked to the left and to the right to make sure he was safe, then he scooped up the little cub, nestled it to his bosom and ran back to his farmhouse.
He fed the little cub and took care of it. After a few months, the little lion cub became very strong, and he began to become familiar with the sheep and the sheep became familiar with him. He grew up in this environment, with the sheep. Every time the sheep would go out to graze, he would go with the sheep. He spent all day with the sheep, he began to think like the sheep, act like the sheep, he even smelled like the sheep. He thought like the sheep, he thought he WAS a sheep. He eventually became a stately young lion, and the sheep were comfortable with him and he was comfortable with them. He thought he was a sheep. This is all he knew, because this was his life. After a year, he became a beautiful, fantastic looking creature.
One day when he went out to graze with the sheep, while they were grazing, suddenly the sheep took off running back to the farm. Well, the little lion that that became a big lion, that thought he was a sheep, acted like a sheep, and smelled like a sheep, he figured if the sheep ran, I better run too, because I am a sheep. So he ran with the sheep back to the farm where they hid behind the fence. Curious, he peeked over the fence, heard a sound he had never heard before. It was the most frightening sound he had ever heard. It shook the jungle, everything trembled, and animals fled when this sound was made. The little lion that became a big lion, that thought he was a sheep, had never heard this sound before. He shook, like all the other sheep.
Then he saw where the sound was coming from. A beast appeared out of the jungle, one that he had never seen before. The beast did something strange, he made the sound that shook the jungle and then he bent his head down into the shrub, and when he lifted his head up, in his jaw was one of the little lambs. It was all bloody and he shook his head as if to say, “Its mine.” He made that sound one more time and then he vanished to the jungle.
Well the little lion that thought he was a sheep, acted like a sheep, had never seen such a crazy beast before. It was an awesome frightening monster and it filled him with terror. He never went out for the rest of the day, the sheep were afraid, the farmer was afraid, he was afraid. A couple of days later, they went back out to graze down by the river. Again, the horrible sound came from the jungle. Everything scattered, the birds flew and the little lion that thought he was a sheep, acted like a sheep, looked across the river and there was the beast appearing again. The beast came trampling through the water and the little lion and the sheep all took off running, jumped over the fence and hid in the safety of the farm. Everybody was afraid of such an ugly beast, the beast put his head down and came up again with another sheep in his jaws. Oh the little lion that though he was a sheep, acted like a sheep, had never seen such a monster. He shook. He was so afraid. And they never went out anymore that day.
Three days later, they were out grazing on the other side where the river was very narrow, and he went down to drink. When he leaned over to drink, he jumped back because he saw the beast. So he ran, jumped over the fence and went to hide in the safety of the farm. He wondered why the sheep didn’t follow him. Didn’t they see the beast? He was so afraid. He was confused. The sheep were fine. They were not afraid, so he started to think he had made a mistake. He ventured back to take a drink and leaned over, saw the beast, jumped back, ran all the way back to the farm, hid behind the wall again. He was shaking, but still he was all by himself. Why didn’t his sheep friends, follow him? Didn’t they see the beast; didn’t they see the monster come from the jungle? He had seen it. He knew he was not dreaming. Then suddenly he became confused. He went back wondering again, why hadn’t they run?
The next day, they were all out grazing again, when they heard the rumbling sound coming from the jungle and the sheep took off. But the little lion that thought like a sheep, acted like a sheep, was standing near the river, when he looked up and saw the beast coming out of the jungle. He knew if he ran it would be too late and he would end up like the lamb. So he froze in fear. He looked back and saw the sheep running back to the farm. He knew he was in trouble. The beast was right across the river, just a few feet from him. He shook. His muscles began to ripple in fear pulsing through every vein. He knew he was finished. Then the beast made that sound across the river, straight to his face. This is the end he thought. I am going to be eaten alive. Then the beast took one step into the water towards him, starred at him and made the sound again. His whole body felt the sound. He knew it was over. He shut his eyes. He expected there to be death.
Then the beast moves closer, they are just feet apart, he can smell his breathe, and the beast makes that sound again. He is shaking with fear and the beast lets out the terrifying sound again. The beast was totally committed to the sound as if to say to him, you can make it also.
That is when he knew the beast was not going to attack him. He realized that the beast was trying to get him to make the sound; he felt that if he didn’t try to make the sound, he was going die. So the little lion that thought he was a sheep, that became a big lion, that thought like a sheep, acted like a sheep, built up all this courage and let out the best sound he knew to make, “baaaaaaaa”. When that sound came out, because that is all he knew, the beast came forward a few more steps as if to say, I ‘m not leaving until you do it right. So, the beast made the sound right to his face, GRRRRRRRRRR. Every thing shook, fear trembled through his body. He was thinking it is over, but I’m going to try one more time, so he built it up from his belly, from deep within and he let go a strong, “baaaaaaaaa.”
And the beast became angry, he moved forward two more steps, he could feel his breath, the heat of his nostrils and he thought it is over. The beast looked at him again and the sound came out, GRRRRRRRRRRR, and it shook his whole body, and for sure he knew he would die. Fear gripped him and he became completely immobilized. It’s over and I can’t make the sound but the beast kept making the sound as if to say, “I’m not leaving until you do it.”
The little lion that though he was a sheep, acted like a sheep, smelled like a sheep, suddenly he realized, he’s not going to leave so I have to try one more time. Then he became angry because the beast believed in him more than he believed in himself. And the anger, turned into passion, and the passion gave him the strength to reach deep inside, he began to build up the spirit of anger, saying to himself, if he believes I can do this, I can do this! And he dug down deep on the inside and suddenly he connected with something he never felt before. His whole body was coming alive. He felt things he had never felt before. All of the sounds in his belly, in his stomach, all of the sounds in his throat, everything changed. His face took on a different look and out of his belly came a sound he never knew he had and he went GRRRRRRRR. His whole body changed with the sound and he knew he sounded like the beast. And the beast got excited and the beast said GRRRRRRR. And he went GRRRRRR and the beast went GRRRRRRR. And this went on and on. And for 15 minutes the story goes that the two lions stood in the middle of the water growling at each other until the beast was convinced, YOU’VE GOT IT!
Then the beast did something strange, he started to walk backward, into the jungle. He got close to the jungle and he stopped. He looked at the big lion that thought he was a sheep, acted like a sheep, smelled like a sheep, as if to say, “Are you coming?”
Suddenly, the little lion that became a big lion, that thought like a sheep, acted like a sheep, smelled like a sheep, knew he had a decision to make. He looked at the beast and knew that was unknown territory. He looked back at the farm and saw his sheep family. He saw the safety of the house, the comfort of a world he knew, the protection of the farm. He looked back at the beast and saw nothing but jungle and unknown, and then he looked back at the sheep and saw nothing but safety and protection. Then one more time he looked at the beast, he saw the jungle, then at the farm, and knew if he went back, he would have protection, food provided, housing provided, comfort provided.
If I go forward, there is no guarantee. One more time he looked at the beast, he looked at the farm, he looked at the water and saw his reflection as a beast, then looked again at the beast. It was there that he knew he had found himself. He turned his back on the farm, walked into the jungle and vanished.
The farmer said the next time he saw him, he had a lamb in his mouth.
This shows that you become like whom you run with! If you want to know who I am today, I am a lion, GRRRRRR. What sound is coming out of you? Do you say, “baaaaaaa” when the lion of opportunity shows up at your cozy farm of a life? Or do you reach down and let the roar out that you were born to produce?
Ephesians 3:20 – Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.