Potential

21 11 2014

Joey was born in 1914 in Lafayette, Ala. He didn’t really know his dad b/c at age 2, committed to mental institution. Because of threats by the KKK, his family moved to Detroit when he was 12. When Joey Barrow was a teenager, his schoolmates labeled him the class sissy. At eighteen, while the other guys were involved in more “masculine” activities, Joey was taking violin lessons. One day, they called him “sissy” one time too many. Joey smashed the boy who made fun of him smack on the head with (you guessed it) his violin. It didn’t help. The story simply brought another round of laughter from Joey’s classmates.

One boy did not laugh. Big, strapping Thurston McKinney decided it was time Joey got involved in something with a little more muscle. Thurston exercised regularly at a local gym and asked Joey to come along. As always, Joey had his violin with him. “If you want to work out with me,” said Thurston, “you’ll have to rent a locker.” Locker rental was fifty cents. The only money Joey had was what his mom had given him for that week’s violin lesson. So Joey borrowed some gym trunks and some old tennis shoes from Thurston, rented the locker with his violin money, and put the violin inside.

The first time Thurston invited Joey to spar with him, Joey clobbered him. Flattened him. Thurston McKinney, himself already a Detroit Golden Gloves Champion, told him, “Boy, throw that violin away!” With the money his mother had intended to finance weekly violin lessons, Joey kept a permanent locker. In five years, Joey Barrow would turn twenty-three and be the heavyweight boxing champion of the world!

Joey dropped his last name, Barrow, so his mother wouldn’t know the newspapers were talking about her son. The world knew for years before she did that sissy Joey Barrow had been transformed into the unbeatable “Brown Bomber,” Joe Louis. Joe Louis was the heavyweight champion of the world for 12 years, heralded to this day as one of the greatest boxers who ever lived

Joey Barrow was potential waiting to happen.

The apostle Peter saw such potential for others in the early church to be champions for Christ. But first they must grow into that potential just like Joey Barrow did as a boxer. It is silly to expect a baby not to grow or to have the notion that the grass on our dormant lawns will never grow again. Unless there is a biological deformity, it is natural to grow. But with a Christian it is an option. So many choose to remain spiritual juveniles, when they should be growing. There are champions for Christ who must grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in order to realize their potential.

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
2 Peter 3:18

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