Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 8 Page 14 August 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Make Today Count!

A plaque marking Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace near Hodgenville, Kentucky, records this scrap of conversation:
“Any news down t’ the village, Ezry?”  “Well, Squire McLain’s gone t’ Washington t’ see Madison swore in, and ol’ Spellman tells me this Bonaparte fella has captured most o’ Spain.  What’s new out here, neighbor?”  “Nuthin,’ nuthin’ a’tall, ‘cept fer a new baby born t’ Tom Lincoln’s.  Nuthin’ ever happens out here.”
Life’s great moments rarely receive a glance from the world.  Positive things go unnoticed by the masses while negative events make the news.  If you want to make the most of life, try this:

Aim High

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Some men see things as they are and ask why.  I dream things that never were and say, why not?”  Paul strove to preach the Gospel where Christ was not named (Romans 15:20) – and he did!  Caleb heard them talk about giants and walls, but though of God and winning.  When he finally got them to stop whining long enough for him to speak, he said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).  Oscar Wilde’s last words were, “I am dying as I’ve lived, beyond my means.”  When God is in a thing, we can do more than we thought possible – Gideon’s three hundred should have never defeated the 135,000, but they did (Judges 6).  Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) said, “Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable; however, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.”  "In the long run men hit only what they aim at.  Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high" (Henry David Thoreau).  Paul said it this way, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).  Another said, “If you can’t win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.”  Your enthusiasm for Christ may start a fire in another’s heart.

Find Something To Be Good At – Even If It Is No Great Thing

Don’t despise little things; a lantern can do what the sun can never do – shine at night.  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) said, “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say:  ‘Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.’”  John Garner,  former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare said, “An excellent plumber is infinitely more valuable than an incompetent philosopher.  The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because it is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy; neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”  If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way (James F. Clarke).  Or, as Cicero put it, “Let him sing to the flute, who cannot sing to the harp.”  Use what talents you possess.  The woods would be silent if no birds sang there except the nightingales.  Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  Solomon said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might . . .” (Ecclesiastes 9:10; cf. Colossians 3:23).  Remember, “A dewdrop does God’s will as much as a thunderstorm.”

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

Generally, those who attain excellence spend life in some one single pursuit, for excellence is not often gained on easier terms.  Paul said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark . . .” (Philippians 3:13-14).  A Latin proverb goes like this, “To do two things at once is to do neither.”  Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) said, “He who begins many things, finishes but few.”  David said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalms 27:4).  Martha was told “one thing is needful” (Luke 10:42).  A person who will be good at what he does will have to say “no” to some good works.

Pay Attention To Detail

“The genius is in the detail” is a remarkably profound thought.  Or, as John Chrysostom (c. 347-407), put it, “Faithfulness in little things is a big thing.”  Little details separate the good from the great, the faithful from the wayward, the saved from the lost.  Henry Ford, Sr., summed his business philosophy in these words:  “Paying attention to simple little things that most men neglect makes a few men rich.”  The Lord said, “He that is faithful in that which is least [elachistos, “very little, smallest.”] is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10).  Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.  A Turkish proverb says, “measure a thousand times and cut once.”  Robert Service said, “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”  Jesus condemned the Pharisees for omitting the “weightier matters of the law,” but he did not condemn them for paying attention to the smaller matters (“these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others undone,” Matthew 23:23).  “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).  George Morrison said, “Great services reveal our possibilities; small services our consecration.”  Jesus complemented the faithful servant by saying, “thou hast been faithful over a few things” (Matthew 25:21).  In a similar parable (the pounds), Jesus says, “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17).

Keep Going . . . And Going . . . And Going

Thomas Edison, arguably the greatest American inventor, said, “I start where the last man left off.”  Max DePree commented, “A friend of mine described a colleague as great at running the 'ninety-five-yard dash.'”  That is a distinction we can do without.  Lacking the last five yards makes the first ninety-five pointless.  We rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they attempt.  Paul said, “I have finished my course . . .” (2 Timothy 4:6; cf. Job 17:9; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 12:1).  David encouraged Solomon his son, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee: he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 28:20).

As Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) said, “Make the most of yourself for that is all there is to you.”  Think about it.


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