Nurturing Our Potential
By the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
| Last updated: Jul 7, 2009 - 3:05:09 PM
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[Editor's note: The following article contains excerpts from the message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on April 24, 1994 at Life Center Church of God in Christ in Chicago, Illinois.]
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful, The One God to Whom all praise is due; The Lord of all the worlds. He is The Creator of all things, The Sender of all Prophets, The Revealer of all Truth, and to Him, alone, do I submit and seek refuge. We thank Him for His intervention in our affairs in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, The Great Mahdi, Whom the world does not know, but the world will soon know.
We thank Almighty God Allah for Moses and the Torah, Jesus and the Gospel, and Muhammad and the Qur'an, peace be upon these worthy servants of God. And I am eternally grateful to God for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who taught me that which I did not know, and gave me an example of a teacher and a servant of God that I hope to become.
I greet all of you this morning with the greeting words of peace. We say it in the Arabic language, As-Salaam Alaikum, but it means in English, Peace Be Unto You. It is in that spirit of peace that we are here with you. To our beloved brother and friend, Pastor T.L. Barrett Jr., on this Founder's Day, we give thanks to Almighty God for blessing you to come through 26 years of service.
No one comes to God in service without paying a price. And any human being that thinks we can serve The God of Righteousness in the world of evil without paying a great price is mistaken.
As a Muslim, our way is different, but I'm always happy when I come to church because I am always inspired by listening and watching others express their way of devotion, because each prophet or messenger, according to the Qur'an, not only taught his people, but brought them a way to express their devotion. And so, as a servant of God, as I travel this Earth and walk among the many peoples of the Earth, they all have God's Way of devotion. So, if you are rooted in God, then you learn to appreciate these peoples' ways of devotion. They can say how we express the faith is different, but what we are expressing is the same universal principle.
Today, Pastor Barrett gave me my subject, “Nurturing Our Potential,” for he has called this year, 1994, the year of growth.
In this magnificent universe that Almighty God has created for us to enjoy and benefit from, there is negative and positive. There is light and darkness. There is life and death. There is growth and there is deterioration. No matter where we go in this universe, there is always that polarity of opposites, or, that duality. This is the year of growth.
The wisest of them all has put His Wisdom to work in our making. And then to top it, the Bible teaches that He made men in His image and after His likeness. Though the Holy Qur'an says “there is none like him,” that is true, but that does not mean that there is nothing like unto God. It means that you can't compare anything to Him.
We must nurture our potential. But, you can't nurture what you don't know. If you know what you're nurturing, then you may know what food to give it. You can't raise a dog on bird food—you must nurture everything according to the nature in which that thing is created. So, if you don't know the nature of the thing, and you don't know the food to give it, all kinds of things may happen. It will grow, but the question is: Will it grow up? Or, will it grow down?
There are all kinds of directions on our planet. There's north, east, south and west, and the direction in between. The question that must be asked, since we want to nurture our potential, is “What is our potential?”
Potential is that which one is capable of achieving. All of us are home on this planet with tremendous potential.
According to the Bible, God created the heavens and the earth. Everything that we see, and that which we don't see, comes from One Creator. What did He create? The scientists say it is clear that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. How can you have a Creator, and matter is here, but it can neither be created nor destroyed? I don't quite understand.
The Qur'an teaches us that Allah (God) created the heavens and the earth with truth, while the Bible teaches God created the heavens and the earth with wisdom—same thing; but then it says, God created everything from nothing. So, there was “no thing”; “nothing.” Then, there was something.
What is “nothing?” Nothing is matter that has no purpose, but when God gives it purpose, he gives it existence, which is why one of the names of God is Al-Khaaliq, The Creator, or, “He who calls everything to exist,” because He gives everything purpose.
Some people who have potential think they are nothing, and some people who have been made into something tell others “You're nothing!” and, “You'll never be nothing!” Everything that exists is something; and God is The Creator of everything, and did not create anything without aim and purpose. When you know the aim and purpose of God for creating a thing, then you know what to nurture it with to make it grow to fulfill its potential.
What is your purpose? The Bible teaches, “And God said, ‘Let us make man.'” Who is doing the making? God.
If God, according to the attributes and characteristics that we know of Him, is the Maker, and God is perfect, then in Him there is no imperfection. He is wise; and not only wise, but is Supreme above all in wisdom. Then, if God said, “Let Us make man in our image and after our likeness,” then The Best Knower is our maker. The wisest of them all has put His Wisdom to work in our making. And then to top it, the Bible teaches that He made men in His image and after His likeness. Though the Holy Qur'an says “there is none like him,” that is true, but that does not mean that there is nothing like unto God. It means that you can't compare anything to Him.
I have heard singers sing; although many people sing, some will say that “nobody sings like ‘so-and-so.'” Many people play ball, but they don't play it like Michael Jordan. Many people perform, but they don't perform like Michael Jackson. When we say that God is incomparable, it means He is unique; He is matchless—it doesn't mean no one else has a gift like that, it's just that no one else can express that gift with the perfection of Him Who is The Source of all gifts.
So, when it said God “made man in His image and in His likeness,” it means God made man to think like He thinks. God made man to plan, because He plans. God made man to govern, because He governs. God made man to rule, because He rules. God made man to love, because He loves. God made man to be beneficent and merciful, because He is beneficent and merciful.
God gave man the power of life and death, but He is The Source of that Power. He gives life, and He causes death. God gives man power to nurture things, but He Himself is The Nurturer. You and I might be a nurturer, but God is The Nurturer. If you run down all of the attributes (characteristics) of God, these are also the attributes of human beings who are crafted by The Creator.
According to the Bible, “male and female created He them”; “called their name Adam”—so the same potential that is in male is in female. Isn't that something? It is just a little different in the Holy Qur'an, where it says that Allah (God) created man as His khalifah, an Arabic word meaning “one who stands in the place of another”; or, “one who succeeds another.” If man is Allah's (God's) khalifah, then God makes man to stand in His place to rule the affairs of men and earth according to The Will of God.
What is your purpose? If we know our purpose, then we know our potential.
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What can we learn from that? This teaches us that there is an unlimited potential of man to go up, and there is an unlimited potential of man to go down. We have to decide, now, what potential we want to nurture: Our potential to go up, or our potential to go down. When you understand which direction you want to go in, then you know which teacher you need to help you reach your goals.
There are four great attributes of Allah (God) which are mentioned in the opening Surah (chapter) of the Holy Qur'an, the first of which is stated in the first verse: Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘alamin (Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds).
If you want to start your journey of growth in the right direction, you must first know that we come from nothing by a Power bigger than ourselves. We must know, first and foremost, where the praise belongs. You have to get that lesson before any other lesson lest you grow, and then think growth is you; and you begin to think power is yours. Power comes from growth, but the power and the growth is according to a Law that was in existence before we got here—and shall be in existence long after we are gone. This Law came from God. And the Bible also teaches that the first lesson you must learn before you go anywhere in life is that you must give God the praise.
Some translate this Arabic word Rabb to mean “Lord.” We say “Lord” in Christianity, don't we? But what does “Lord” mean? If you don't know the meaning of the word, you're saying it, but you're not cognizant of what all of that entails. “He is my Lord.” “Jesus is my Lord.” The word Rabb actually means “he who nurtures a thing, making it attain stage after stage until it reaches its eventual perfection.” What? You mean that all things have to be nurtured? Yes.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that planets are things made or grown from the beginning; that they started from Adam, and grew. This planet is not now what it was, but what it is now sustains all of us, because it was grown; and it was nurtured. Everything in creation was grown according to a law, and The God Who is Master of it is He Who nurtures everything from its inception, or conception, to its perfection.
What does this tell us? Your purpose is to move from where you are towards the perfection of what God intended for the human being. That's your purpose.
Can you be perfect? Jesus said, “Be ye perfect even as I am perfect.” God is the Lord of all of the worlds, not only of the worlds that we see in space, but all of the worlds that grow from ideas. If you want perfection in anything that you attempt to do, you must recognize the Lord's ability to perfect you—but you have a responsibility, which is to submit yourself to the Lord that He might nurture you and make you attain stage after stage until you reach your eventual perfection.
What is your purpose? Who are you? Brothers and sisters: You are more than who you think you are. But, the sad fault of life is that human beings are more than what we thought ourselves to be, and because we don't know our own aim and purpose for God's creating us, then we wander through life without aim and purpose—hit and miss; and some of us never evolve and never develop our potential. Some of us are like seeds that have never found fertile ground; and we die like that, unfulfilled, because the world in which we live is such an unjust rule of man that the equality of opportunity that is necessary to develop our potential is cut off from some and given to others.
The Holy Qur'an teaches, “Set your face for religion being upright, the nature of Allah and the nature in which He has created man.”
What is our nature? Our nature is uprightness. To live upright to God is the nature in which we were created. If that is our nature, then how can we ever be upright if we are not fed a strict diet, or a Word, that would keep us growing in uprightness?
Scholars of religion teach that man has a “soul.” This body is from the earth, and it is not created to live forever. Our bodies must return to the earth, but there is something in man and woman far beyond, above and greater than the flesh. What is that? It is the soul.
What is the soul? The soul is the essence of the human being. How many of you have cooked a cake and you used vanilla extract? The vanilla extract is the essence of the vanilla; it is very powerful, so you can only use a little of it. The Qur'an says that Allah (God) created man from a single essence; from a single being, and created his mate of the same kind. So, each male and female is from the same essence.
What is that essence? That essence is The Nature of God that is in you and in me. If God created us and gave us a nature similar to His own, then that nature, or essence, in us is Divine. Please understand me, because some scholars don't want to say that man is divine. They are wrong!
God created the universe. The universe is from God, and anything from God and of God is Divine. However, being of God and from God does not mean that which is of Him and from Him is worthy of worship. Worship belongs only to God. If you are of Divine, and you are, then that Divine in you is The God within. But, The God within is potential that has to be nurtured in order for you to manifest God in your words, in your actions and in your life. This Essence of God within you, if it is fed wrong, will cause you to go down into the bottomless pit, where there is no end to the evil that you can conceive, for whatever man can conceive in his brain, he has the ability to make it manifest.
Look at the world around you: This world pays lip service to Jesus. Let's be honest. I know we like to praise his name. That's fine; all of that's good, and you do get some credit—but not a lot. You can praise God, and can get credit for that, but that is not what God wants you to do. You do have to give Him the praise, but then you have to do something. You can't just praise Him with your lips; you have to praise Him in your life by the life you live that bears witness that He is in your life; and is the Lord and Master of your life.
You can't be a “do-nothing Christian,” a “do-nothing
Muslim,” or, a “do-nothing Jew.” I am a Muslim. I am a Christian. I am a Jew. I
am a member of the
The people of the world talk about Jesus, and they say they believe in Jesus. But how can the people of the world say they believe in Jesus, yet be a part of the corrupt madness of this world's life?
If you are a part of that world, and you don't have the power to correct that world and bring it in line with God, then there is something missing in your faith. Jesus said if you have faith the grain of a mustard seed, you could say to the mountain be removed, and it would be so. But everything in your life has become a mountain: A mountain of debt, and you can't remove it. A mountain of evil in front of us, and we can't move it, yet we claim Christ; we claim Muhammad. Yet, we claim Allah (God). You need nurturing so that the potential that you have can be actualized; and then you can say “Be!” and so it is. You have that power.
What are you doing with that power? I'm talking to Muslims and Christians! The wicked all over the Earth are dominating the righteous! The potential of man and woman to be the reflectors of God's Holiness and Righteousness, of His Wisdom and Power, is veiled. Paul said, “We war not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places.”
You are a person with great potential, but you are sitting at the television, letting Satan feed your mind. You're picking up the newspapers and the magazines, and you let Satan feed your mind. You turn on your radio and you listen to foolishness. Several hours a day you're letting Satan feed your mind. Yes, you're growing all right, but you're growing down, and not up. You're becoming agents of Satan rather than representatives of God and His Christ.
If our potential is to reflect God; and since God is He Who said, “Let us make man,” then God has to be The Nurturer. God has to be The Teacher. God has to be The Shepherd. Any other shepherd will not do.
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