The Power of an Encounter

By: Mark Jenkins
Charlie Taylor is not a familiar name to most, but if you were to ask his friends, they probably would have described him as a quiet man who loved mechanical things. Some others considered him a mechanical genius even though he dropped out of school at the age of twelve and went to work for the Nebraska State Journal in their processing department. It was at this job that he encountered two men who challenged him to do more, and who then recruited him to their company. These two men were none other than Orville and Wilbur Wright, the “Fathers of Flight.”

Charlie’s relationship with the Wright brothers not only changed his life direction but the course of aviation history. A few years after joining the Wrights, Charlie used his passions and skills to design the engine the Wright Brothers used on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk North Carolina, to fly 120 feet in 12 seconds.

Now, you may be wondering why I am giving you this historical lesson. Well, if we go back and examine all of history, we’ll see that it is defined and impacted by the encounters of different people. Whether they were challenged to become more by others, or encouraged to step out of their comfort zones, we see countless examples of how people used their lives in powerful ways.

In addition, we see encounters throughout scripture as one of Jesus’s primary ways he meets people where they are and emboldens them to greater significance.
Let’s take the first disciples Simon, James, and John for example. When Jesus meets them after a long night of fishing, he challenges them to follow him and become not just fishermen but fishers of men. It was Jesus’s encounter with these men that shaped not only their lives but the lives of millions who would come to know and follow Jesus.
I share all this because one of the lost messages in our time is that Jesus is still saying “follow me” to us and, like Charlie Taylor, He designed each of us with unique skills, talents, passions, and dreams that He wants to use for his glory if we will just say yes.

The question is, are we making space to encounter Jesus so He can give us everything we need to follow him and not only for our benefit but just maybe, for the life-changing benefit and history-shaping of those around us.
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