Dare to Be Different

Dare to Be Different

"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind."—Rom. 12:2

Did you ever stop to think about this amazing fact: Every real contribution of any great worth that has been made in this world was made by people who dared to be different?

That's a fact! No, we don't mean that they wore different clothes from their friends, or parted their hair on a different side, or had odd table manners. It's possible to be different in a queer kind of way that benefits nobody.

But all the world's great pioneers dared to be different. Daniel Boone couldn't stand civilization—so he explored Kentuckv. Later on when the neighborhood in Kentucky got crowded, he pushed westward into Missouri.

Even in the world of nature the same holds true. Many years ago a Canadian apple grower noticed how one tree bore a new and lovely kind of fruit. He took cuttings from this tree and grafted them on other trees. From this one apple tree came the modern MacIntosh apple—the red, red apple with the juicy bite.

One of the dairy farmer's most reliable hay crops is alfalfa. Alfalfa is an old plant, but the kind farmers plant today—all the millions and millions of acres over the United States—is descended from a single alfalfa plant. This plant was noticed by a western farmer in a year of great drought as being the only thriving plant in the whole field. Upon investigation he discovered that its roots went deep into the earth, while its neighbors depended on the moisture in the top few inches of soil. Because this single plant was different, alfalfa fields all over our land are greener and more productive.

Plants are different through no effort or courage on their part. But human beings must be different through enormous will power and thought.

King Saul tried to force his heavy armor on the shepherd boy David. But David resisted this protection so unnatural to him and went out and slew Goliath with the weapon he knew best—the slingshot.

Young Daniel and his three friends were urged to eat the rich diet from the table of King Nebuchadnezzar. But Daniel knew that simple food was best for the human body. Because he dared to be different, he was made adviser to the king.

The ancient prophet Amos saw his fellow countrymen, the Israelites, buying one another as slaves. All around he witnessed terrible injustice, with the rich oppressing the poor. Nobody else raised a voice—but Amos did. Because he dared to be different, we have his mighty words still with us—recorded in the book of Amos in the Old Testament. Men of courage still read them for inspiration.

Jesus Christ was tempted to use force, raise an army, and drive out the Romans and their cruel occupation army from his land of Israel. All his nation yearned for liberty. But Jesus knew that force would only produce more violence. He dared to be different and proclaimed the law of love—that we should love God and our fellow man and forgive our enemies. He was so different that he was crucified.

If in your heart you know that being like the crowd is wrong, dare to be different. It's not easy. And you may not succeed. But God will be with you. Trust in him. Pray and ask him for strength. When tempted to go along in acts you know are wrong, be different. Perhaps others will follow you. And even if not, dare to be different.

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