When was the last time you were challenged to do something really... well... great?
President Abraham Lincoln helped me to understand that there is a bit of greatness within all of us. It is said that he often slipped out of the White House on Wednesday evenings to listen to the sermons of Dr. Phineas Gurley at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.
He generally preferred to come and go unnoticed, so when Dr. Gurley knew the president was coming, he left his study door open. On one of those occasions, the president quietly entered through a side door of the church, took his seat in the minister’s study, located just off the sanctuary, and propped the door open just wide enough to hear the preacher.
During the walk home one Wednesday evening, an aide asked Mr. Lincoln his appraisal of the sermon. The president thoughtfully replied, “The content was excellent... he delivered with eloquence... he had put work into the message….”
“Then you thought it was an excellent sermon?” questioned the aide.
“No,” Lincoln answered.
“But you said that the content was excellent, it was delivered with eloquence and it showed much work,” the aide pressed.
“That’s true,” Lincoln said. “But Dr. Gurley forgot the most important ingredient. He forgot to ask us to do something great.”
There is nothing wrong with average lives and average accomplishments. Most of the good of the world is built on the accumulated efforts of everyday people. But, as Lincoln seemed to know, a life should strive for some greatness.
Are you part of a relationship that, if given more effort, could be outstanding? Or do you volunteer for an organization which is truly doing something excellent? Have you joined a cause that is attempting something great? Or have you ever said to yourself concerning a beautiful dream, “I could never do that,” while knowing that if you were to attempt it and succeed, you just might accomplish something significant?
If Abraham Lincoln is right, then every life should strive to reach a little further today than it did yesterday, for there is some greatness in each of us.
-- Steve Goodier