This week's thoughts come from a book entitled, "The Best Advice I Ever Got," a book of wit and wisdom for graduates, published by Zondervan. I offer you just three of the many selections in the book. They are helpful and wise. I trust you will enjoy them!
1. "Humility is the mark of a true winner." Coach Charlie Siesky
"My coach was one of the winningest coaches in the history of Indiana track and field. It was the first meet of my sophomore year. I had done well the previous season, but I knew I could accomplish more and trained rigorously to do so. When I finished in first place I pumped my fist in the air and raised my finger to signal my first victory. I was shocked, however, to see a picture of this in the local newspaper the next morning. Even though it hadn't been my intention, it looked as if I was signaling that I was number one. That day is when coach Siesky offered his words of wisdom. He taught me, "humility is the mark of a true winner."
That season I went on to win all but four meets, I set and broke the city record twice and was named to the all-state team. My picture appeared in the newspaper five more times, but never again with my finger raised."
James Cullum -- Minister and Author
2. "It can't be sunshine all the time or the flowers wouldn't grow for lack of rain." (Words to Francine Rivers from her mother.)
"My mother wrote these words of wisdom to me in a letter during my college years when i was struggling. I was working part time and having difficulty completing my courses, and her timely encouragement gave me the fresh perspective and boost I needed. I've never forgotten those important words. They have carried me through many trials over the years. What I have learned is that there is no achievement without struggle. The Lord uses trials and trouble to draw us to him and to teach us to rely on his strength rather than our own. He develops our character and faith through all the difficulties of life on this earth."
Francine Rivers - Author
3. "No one can be everything to another person." (Unnamed church lady.)
"When my daughter was born, I felt a huge amount of responsibility to be sure that I was able to give her everything she needed. I often felt discouraged and anxious sensing that I was unable to ensure her future success or even keep her as safe and well as I thought I should. Once, while I was murmuring and self-deprecating to a woman at my church, she interrupted me and said: "You can't be everything to your daughter or anyone else. Pray that God will bridge the gap between what you can give her and what she needs." Those words were a revelation and a relief to me.
I've incorporated that principle into every area of my life. Before I begin a writing project, prepare for a speaking engagement, or deal with an issue with a friend or family member, I pray that God will bridge the gap between what I can give and what is needed. This does not mean that I ever do less than my very best, but it does allow me to accept my limitations and refocus my perspective onto God's vast resources. What I really love is when I realize that God is using me to bridge the gap for someone else."
Nancy Rue - Author and Speaker
God DOES call us to do things we cannot do. That is what drives us in faith, and the reliance of a hope mixed with desperation, to seek Him who is faithful to fill the broad gap between our can't and His can. For he is, as Paul says, "able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or think" (Eph. 3:20). Were He never to ask us to do what cannot be done humanly speaking, we would never know the sufficiency of His power and grace to compensate for our human weakness.
May the Lord encourage you in your walk this day.
In His Service, Pastor Jeff