Be the One


Several years ago, I was given a book entitled 212: The Extra Degree.  The basic premise is the following:

At 211º water is hot. At 212º, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. The one extra degree makes the difference. This simple analogy reflects the ultimate definition of excellence. Because it’s the one extra degree of effort, in business and life, that can separate the good from the great.

This week, our church has been focusing on that one degree of change, that one single degree that makes a world of difference.  Whether it’s the pinpoint accuracy of an arrow shooting from an archer’s bow or the meticulous charting of a navigator on a ship, one degree can mean the difference between reaching your goal or straying far from it…and ultimately between life and death.  Spiritually speaking, that one degree of change have a tremendous impact on not only our daily lives but also on eternity.  And this morning, the question was asked:  will you be the one God uses?

That question – those 7 simple words – challenge me deeply.  Because I can never fully know God’s plan this side of eternity, I must constantly follow, obey, and submit my wants and desires to His will and His plan.  Because I can never fully see the far-reaching effects of my words and actions, I must continually be on guard against unkindness, favoritism, or hypocrisy.  Because I can never completely anticipate God’s timing or comprehend the scope of His knowledge, I must actively take advantage of opportunities that He brings my way.

Often, that’s hard.  I get tired.  I get overwhelmed, emotionally and spiritually.  I’m afraid of what the commitment will cost.  I don’t have time.  But in the grand scheme of eternity, those are sorry excuses.  And quite honestly, God doesn’t ask of me what He’s not willing to provide.  I’ve got the resources of the King of the Universe at my disposal.  All I have  to do is ask.

And so that questions stirs my heart again:  will I be the one God uses?

As I ponder this question, I’m reminded of a song that was released shortly after I graduated from college.  Despite the mullets, big hair, shoulderpads and pegged jeans depicted in the video, the message still challenges me even after all these years…will I be the one God uses?  

The answer is, simply, yes.  May my heart remain yielded, willing, and ready.  Ready to help.  Ready to serve.  Ready to do the work.  Ready to be the one degree of change that can make a difference in the world.




  1. Just to continue the metaphor…

    In the Navy I learned about boilers, the pieces of engineering equipment that are used in propulsion and electrical generation. Steam that is just at the boiling point ends up being too wet to use, and easily turns back into condensate (water) which then causes corrosion on the moving parts. TO more efficiently use steam for propulsion steam is ‘superheated to a point where all the water molecules are in the vapor phase, which drastically lowers the amount of condensate in the moving parts of the steam engine.

    Another point, steam goes through a cycle from liquid to vapor continuously through the systems that make up a steam engine. The liquid form is always hot, but for half of the cycle, the water molecule is in liquid form and half the cycle is in a vapor form.

    Think of it as a work phase and a rest phase. It’s impossible for a steam engine to work with only vapor, the water must be given time to revert to a liquid form then be re-heated (or re-superheated) to the vapor form.


  2. yes, and to continue your continuance, the water molecule in and of itself has no power to generate its own heat to add that extra degree. That extra degree must come from an external heat source. Despite my best efforts and all my good intentions, I must remain close enough to the heat source to provide that extra degree needed for both internal and external transformation.

    Great food for thought.

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