Ambition can be good. Striving for continual improvement can be good. Wanting to be the best can also be good. But these all come at a cost—and often a too high cost. We can, however, strive to be the best that God has potentialled us to be. And if, along that journey we are kind to others, humble, caring, dependable and reliable, we may run the risk of having others think of us as ‘ordinary’ — a high compliment indeed — but in reality we will not just be ordinary, we will have attained the elusive honour of being ordinary and noble.
Finishing is quite different to ending. Novelists have the privilege of finishing their literary creations before they write those two delightful words, The End. Life, however, doesn’t always afford the same privilege. Too many lives end rather than finish. But the apostle Paul was among the privileged few. He last epistle was written to Timothy in which he could confidently state, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (Second Timothy 4:7). Although Paul’s life had a brutal ending, his life didn’t end — it finished. Moses, on the other hand finished before he finished.
What has God put you on this planet for? Chances are you don’t have to stress too much about discovering it. You have probably already found that God has placed within you certain abilities, certain passions, which cause you to continually see the same need. Chances are also that when you apply yourself to meeting those needs you have gained a tremendous sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in the process. Yet, despite this, there will occasionally be times of discouragement when all you want to do is give-up. But it’s at these times when you must especially be careful to do it properly!
Joseph was given a dream from God that he would one day become a powerful governor. After spending more than ten years in an Egyptian prison, we would have forgiven him for giving up and for thinking that God had abandoned him. But if he had, he would have missed his moment! Joseph remained faithful to God, day in, and day out.
Great story-tellers all do one thing particularly well. Apart from an interesting plot, they introduce us to the story’s characters with just enough narration for us to be both fascinated and curious about them. I consider John Grisham a good example of a master-storyteller for this reason. In his book, The Testament, he paints the background picture of the plot-line by introducing us to the story’s characters. We pull up a chair alongside the narrator and see this story unfold in a way that only God does in reality. As the chapters of the story are laid bare before us the characters of the story become more familiar and fuller to us – particularly the lawyer who is left to find the sole beneficiary of the Estate of the now dead billionaire. Grisham, like all good story-tellers, doesn’t tell us too much too soon about each character.