Several years ago this question sparked instant reaction during an evening church revival in suburban Atlanta. The emotionally stirred inquiry was in fact the sermon topic prepared by Minister Ben Lang of Cornerstone Baptist Church. Minister Lang with a thunderously pitch defined the word “pioneers” as a group of adventurous trailblazers who’ll discover a new region to enjoy and make a way for others. He then downplayed the word “settlers” in a dull-monotone voice… a group of people simply occupying a new country or specific area. That’s IT for the settlers…to simply occupy a specific area.
The main point of the sermon was to motivate and ignite the audience to use their God-given abilities. Years later, I still remember key elements of that sermon. Here goes…
A Settler’s Mentality
We were made in His image – His creative design was for us to serve and worship Him. He has given us unique gifting abilities to use. And these explorative gifts propel us to create constructive ideas and innovation that could be beneficial for others. Sadly, some of our dear friends may never launch their pioneer-game planning ideas. Instead, they remain comfortable where they are; never having the desire to launch out on their ideas and thus becoming a settler. Just the other day, I passed through an apartment complex that probably contains – let say – 30 units. What struck me was the image of multiple satellite dishes mounted at each apartment unit – appearing to look like a string of humongous grey ornamented Christmas lights perfectly aligned near the roof of each unit. I began to methodically calculate the hours each home would spend watching television. After coming up with my own hypothesis, I then said to myself…”if one had all that time to watch television, could that same amount of time be spent doing something more productive?” This could also be said of those watching television in suburban homes too!
South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and former politician Nelson Mandela said “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
A Pioneer’s Mentality
As I said early, God made us in His image and has gifted us with ability to further empower ourselves and those around us. Pioneers know just how to get the job done even if their goals resulted in success or failure. The qualities of these individuals are striking:
1) They are continuous learners and are very creative
2) They are interested in human development and studying psychosocial theories
3) They often challenge and critique themselves
4) They quest for resolutions and achievements
5) They enjoy new opportunities and study different cultures
Individuals with a desire to ‘change the way we live’ spend an enormous amount of time in isolation. That isolation prevents them from becoming too settled in their ways.
The late three-time Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna said this: “I continuously go further and further learning about my own limitations, my body limitation, psychological limitations. It’s a way of life for me.”
So often these days, I question myself – Am I a Pioneer or Settler? Do I find myself like a pool of stagnated water with no signs of rippled movement in my life? Or do I need to re-evaluate the things I’m gifted to do in life? Whatever the case, the road to your purpose in life requires some investigating.
Let’s go people and do some good!