Everyday versus Exceptional

Do you know Thomas the Engine?

If you’re a mommy, Thomas is not a distant memory… at all. There is a whole theme park dedicated to Thomas the Engine. Thomas is an engine that cares about his fellow engines and is really about doing the best job he can do. Thomas likes to feel important, at least he likes to feel like what he is doing is important. Overall, he’s doing the best he can. He gets frustrated at times, but everything usually works out in the end of a Thomas story.

What about The Little Engine that Could?

Do you remember her? Somewhat contrasting with Thomas,  “The Little Engine” was being asked for help, wasn’t sure if she could do it… but nevertheless was willing. The Little Engine didn’t really have a posse of engines around her to care about, nothing to compare her actions to. From what the story revealed at least, it didn’t even look like she had anyone to answer to.

While Thomas the Engine is surrounded by different engines with different gifts and his ‘master’, Sir Topham Hat to report to, The Little Engine that Could does not seem to have access to any of this. What is intriguing about contrasting these two engines, especially as it pertains to achieving a goal, is that one of these engines is required to pull from something that the other one does not always need to pull from, being surrounded by all the resources available to him.

What the Little Engine that Could was required to access in this one story that Thomas is not required to pull from on the same level is… faith. Imagine being or rather intentionally putting ourselves in a place where we must access our faith. Some of use know that we have it. But not all of us are willing to put ourselves into situations that require utilization of it.

The catch phrase from the book, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”, has become a motivational tool for many, for years to come.

We like to know we can right? This knowing provides a comfort zone that, in the story, might have been the reason that the other two other trains were unwilling to do the job.

The issue is not are we doing what’s good. This is accomplished in a Thomas story most of the time. The real question we need to ask ourselves is, are we doing what’s right? There is a difference. One way that leads to the everyday, and the other which leads to the exceptional.


Perhaps a certain level of discomfort is needed in order to lean more toward the right.


Some ways to do this include:

  • using what we already have
  • pooling our resources
  • being willing to align our actions with truth
  • not being afraid to spread out
  • creating responsible boundaries (time, family, etc.)
  • work towards greater vision


(Jn 3:30)

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