Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
DURING THE HEIGHT of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln often found refuge at a Presbyterian church in Washington, D.C. He would go with an aide, sit with his stovepipe hat in his lap, and never interrupt the meeting because the congregation would all be in a dither if they knew the president had come to sit in that midweek meeting.
He sat off to the side, near the pastor’s study, as the minister would open the Scriptures and teach God’s Word and would lead the congregation in worship.
The war was tearing the nation apart and tearing his soul. Having just lost his own son, Lincoln was on the bottom, and he needed solace and sustenance.
As the pastor finished his message and the people began to leave, the president stood quietly and straightened his coat and took his hat in hand and began to leave. The aide stopped him and said, “What did you think of the sermon, Mr. President?” He said, “I thought the sermon was carefully thought through, eloquently delivered.” The aide said, “You thought it was a great sermon?” He said, “No, I thought he failed.” “He failed? Well, how? Why?”
“Because he did not ask of us something great.”
Bruce Larson, What God Wants to Know, Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes
In the first of the trilogy of “The Hobbit”, Gandalf was looking for the 14th member of the company who would go Erebor. He has chosen Master Baggins to be the Burglar. He is the only one who would sneak in past Smaug to retrieve the Arkenstone.
When he was a child, Bilbo Baggins was fond of the world outside. He dreamt of chasing elves—an adventure of his lifetime; the very quality that Gandalf hoped for upon their meeting.
The company of the dwarves was in great need. They wanted to reclaim their homeland from the sleeping beast from beneath the Lonely Mountain. But Gandalf could sense a deeper problem that the dwarves could not see. They only see that the dragon robbed them of their own homeland that is why they have to get rid of him to take back what was theirs. Gandalf sees that Smaug was a herald of a much darker power: The return of Sauron. If that would be true, he is to find out.
Because of that, he went to the hobbit and asked something great of him: He is to retrieve the Arkenstone. Retrieving the King’s Jewel meant only one thing for the hobbit: Leave Bag End—the Shire.
But something happened to Bilbo. Instead of seeking an adventure, he would rather be concerned of his mother’s dishes. Instead of going to the world outside and chasing elves, he began pouring himself into maps and simply read about what the world might have looked like from books. This is what Gandalf found in Bilbo.
The thought of facing a real live dragon terrified him. But if Bilbo have not consented going with the company, he would have missed a great deed. But this opportunity was something that he never missed.
Sooner or later we will find out that for every person who trusted the Lord, God will give him an opportunity to be asked of something great.
Moses was given that opportunity when God told him to go back to Egypt to let his people free from slavery.
Gideon was given that opportunity when God told him to lead an army of 300 men against tens of thousands.
Esther was given that opportunity when Mordecai told her to go before the King of Persia to tell him about the evil plot that was set against her countrymen—even if it meant her death.
But we must always remember this: When God asks something great of us, he will go with us.
Prayer: “Lord, we pray to You, that You would do something great in our lives.”