If you lived any time before May 6, 1954 you knew that it was impossible to run a four-minute mile. Although many had tried no-one (in recorded history) had accomplished it. That is until Sir Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3:59.4 minutes at Oxford, England. Within six weeks Australian John Landy had run a faster sub four-minute mile and today most world class competitive athletes in middle-distance running can do the same. It took someone with extra courage, technique, research and determination to break the barrier. Once broken, the barrier became attainable for others.
If you were an Israelite who lived pre 1000 BC you knew that giants could not be killed. No-one ever killed the Philistine giants from Gath. The only Israelite giant-killers were Caleb and his family who had God’s promised blessing as Israel, many generations before, conquered Canaan. However, David, a shepherd musician, slew the three-metre Goliath (1 Samuel 17) with faith in God and weapons he knew how to use that proved strategically better in this one-to-one duel. [pullquote]
David’s war heroics inspired many Israelites to incredible wartime feats (2 Samuel 23:8-39). David had a warrior honour list second to none. The Bible records (2 Samuel 21:18-22, 1 Chronicles 20:4-8) the list of only four other giant killers—all relatives or from Bethlehem, David’s home town. David’s giant-killing feat inspired others he was closely connected with to do the same.
When ordinary humans like David and you and I do extraordinary things it helps others to do the same. This is influence. Real leadership inspires others to do the impossible and break the barriers—not through coercion or mandate but by example. Leaders develop others best not by decrees or speeches but by intentional relationships. There is a world that needs the barriers of racism, sexism, tribalism, capitalism, communism . . . broken with the love of the gospel. Will you and I break the barrier and inspire others to do the same?