At some time or another, we have probably all had the feeling that we are going nowhere fast. As we get older and/or have health problems, we may even begin to feel that we are going to leave this world without ever having truly released the music that is inside of us.
Through my studies of great men and women, I have come to believe that everyone feels at least a little disappointed with their life at one time or another. I remember hearing the great Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll once say that no one has ever been truly used by God without first being processed deeply. Swindoll has also written, “…no one deserves the right to lead without first persevering through pain and heartache and failure…”
Back in the days when I was teaching IBM programming I used to tell my students, “Programming is a lot like playing the blues, you’re never really good until you’ve paid your dues.” OK, I freely admit that it is a little corny, but it is true and easy to remember. Nothing is really worthwhile without a cost.
In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell writes that from the Beatles to Bill Gates no one really thrives without putting in at least 10,000 hours of hard work. However long, the point is, lasting success does not happen overnight without a lot of preparation.
Here are a few people that started small but ended big. They serve as a reminder that we should stay true to God’s call on our life and never ever ever give up.
- The Prophet Abraham grew up in an area filled with gods and polytheistic religions, but he became the Father of Faith for both Jews and Christians.
- Joseph was beaten, sold into slavery, imprisoned and ridiculed. One day his gift took him out of the prison and made him Prince of Eqypt.
- Despite his grand upbringing in the household of Pharaoh, from the age of about forty until about age eighty, Moses bided his time on the backside of the desert watching sheep as they looked for something edible. He probably felt like he was going to die there. Instead God raised him up to be the liberator for millions of trans-generational slaves. God even took advantage of Moses’ insights into desert life as he led them to their new home.
- Rahab a pagan prostitute made a single decision that paved the path for her to be the ancestor of Jesus.
- David a small – mostly forgettable – shepherd boy became the most famous king to ever live.
- Daniel a slave in a foreign land – to a ruler who thought he was a god – turned the hearts of an entire nation toward the one true God.
- Jeremiah was a slave and wine taster (read poison tester) for a foreign ruler. He became the catalyst for rebuilding and freedom for his people.
- Abraham Lincoln was born into poverty and heartache. Treated like a slave by his Father and without the luxury of traditional education, he never-the-less refused to accept his dire circumstances and instead took every opportunity to better himself. As you know, he eventually became one of the greatest Presidents of all time.
- George Washington Carver was born to slaves, but became one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. It is estimated that his ingenious agricultural discoveries have saved millions of lives and created wealth for those who were previously impoverished.
- Winston Churchill went from failed and rejected politician to the savior of Great Britain.