Focal Passages: Judges 16:4-6, 13-20
Len Bias was an All-American and all-everything college basketball player. For years he had terrorized his Atlantic Coast Conference opponents. Bias so impressed Boston Celtics great Larry Bird of his potential that Bird recommended that Celtics general manager Red Auerbach draft Bias as the overall number two pick in the 1986 NBA draft.
Auerbach did, and the Celtics’ world celebrated. Tragically, two days later Len Bias was pronounced dead, presumably as a reaction to a cocaine overdose: compromised potential.
Samson would be the last of Israel’s judges. His rise from obscurity to greatness is well known. Manoah’s wife was barren, but God intervened by sending His angel to her with the message that she was to birth a son, and this son would take the Nazarite vow – no alcohol consumed, nothing unclean eaten and uncut hair.
The boy was born, was given the name Samson, and God blessed him (13:24).
Samson’s life was defined by his biceps and riddles. No one was a match for the mighty and witty Samson. He infuriated his enemies to the point that the Philistines stayed awake at night plotting his demise.
They watched Samson and discovered his greatest weakness was women. Therefore, when Samson hooked up with the beautiful and persuasive Delilah, they believed she could deliver Samson for them. And she did.
The story of Samson began with such promise – a loving family, the blessing of God, extreme ability and strength. All Samson had to do was keep his vow, his promises to God.
But in his search for pleasure, he wasted God’s gift.
Potential is an elusive word. We all have it, but we don’t all reach it. Len Bias reached his potential while at the University of Maryland. It was assumed he could reach even higher potential as a Celtic. It didn’t happen.
Samson, likewise, was the poster boy for “potential.” He had it by the bucket loads. Unfortunately, his faith and commitment to God didn’t match his potential.