20161113_JLRussellBy Rev. J. Loren Russell, MDiv

Luke 17:21
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Noted author, poet, philosopher, mystic and theologian, Howard Thurman was quoted to have said, “If you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, you will, all your life, spend your days on the end of strings that somebody else pulls.” What a profound statement. It was Thurman’s way of telling us that we could be looking in the wrong places for our authentic selves. Not finding that person could have dire consequences.

I believe we were all born with specificity and purpose. The challenge is discovering our specialty and actualizing our purpose. The scripture that is reference here is one of divine healing. Ten men who were afflicted with the disease of leprosy, yelled from a distance (leprosy was very contagious), asking Jesus to have mercy on them, to heal them. He instructed them to go and present themselves to the priests. The story says that as they went, they were healed. But it is more than just the healing that took place. It is also a story about one of the ten men coming to know his genuine self and being commissioned and empowered to go and to be that person.

Have you noticed that a great many people, particularly children and youth, can be easily influenced by others? Have you seen them change their behavior just to fit in? Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that these people seemingly have forgotten or are no longer interested in being their genuine self?

Finding the answers to some of life’s most challenging questions is difficult; “Who am I? Why am I here? What am I to do while I am here? What do I have to do to be the best person I can possibly be?” Where can you go for answers?

Only one of the ten men with leprosy came to say thank you. What made him turn around and go back to Jesus to say “Thank you?” It was that thing going on inside of that man. He was a natural-born leader! This single act revealed his leadership qualities. He displayed self-confidence when he went back to express his gratitude and appreciation — alone. He demonstrated humility when he fell down at Jesus’ feet. Considering the fact that he was a foreigner, his confidence was on display when he glorified Him with a loud voice. It took considerable self-direction not to be concerned with what those others might have thought of him. He was told to go his way because he had been made well. He was not being pulled by the strings of others. The situation bought out the best in this man. He looked within himself and found his genuine self. Where have you been looking?

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting; and host of “Matters of Faith: The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM.  Listen in here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at

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