Tuesday, May 11 2021 - 9:33 PM
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Contemporary Pioneers

Sometimes we’re tempted to think that the glory days of pioneers exploring new frontiers is a thing of the past. After all, when was the last time you saw a true pioneer?

If you cannot think of any, maybe it’s time to redefine what a pioneer is and does.

Note to self and anyone else reading these lines, pioneers are not required to drive covered wagons and travel the Oregon Trail.

What do pioneers look like today? Typically, they look like everyone else. They live in normal houses, drive to work in regular cars, and wear everyday clothes. But this is usually where the similarities end.

Instead of thinking like average people, pioneers dare to dream and question why. They go places in their reasoning that most have never imagined. The word “no” has no place in their vocabulary. In fact, as far as they are concerned, “no” means “yes.” Reality is a primer for future possibilities. Nothing is set in concrete.

It is the pioneers who create new technologies, discover disease cures, create new expressions of art, write new songs, forge positions of compromise to pass critical legislation, and risk their lives to extend help to those held hostage by the forces of poverty and ignorance. True adventurers are not distracted by praise, personal attacks, or political pundits. With laser-like accuracy, their focus is riveted on fulfilling their life mission.

Ignore the Naysayers

Leonard Anderson reminds us that when the Golden Gate Bridge was first imaged, naysayers said it would never happen. “It is impossible. Skeptics warned that nature’s power would prevent the construction of a bridge to span the narrow passage into San Francisco Bay. Water too deep. Strong ocean currents too powerful. High winds and dense fog create dangerous working conditions. Funds for the huge project are scarce in the Great Depression, and owners of large fleets of passenger ferryboats on the bay threaten to scuttle the project.”

“Yet, a bold team of engineers, architects, geologists, contractors, and some 4,000 laborers led by chief engineer Joseph Strauss overcame the obstacles and launched the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge on Jan. 5, 1933.” *

In addition to being fearless in the face of criticism, pioneers are visionaries. They see something the average person doesn’t see. When Michelangelo looked at a large chunk of marble in his studio, he saw a “David” waiting to be released with his chisel. Yet others saw only a piece of stone.

The Perfecter of Our Faith

Jesus is a pioneer when it comes to our salvation. Paul says we should be, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).

Who do you think of as a twenty-first-century pioneer?

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Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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