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.
A brush with death will sometimes have a dramatic effect upon a person. It can (and has) cause(d) people to re-evaluate their priorities and reset their life on a completely different course. This phenomena has been the basis for several Hollywood blockbusters including, Big Fish (starring Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Danny DeVito), and Meet Joe Black (starring Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt) are two great examples. But it’s not just the stuff of movies. Throughout history there have people who have had a brush with death which has shaped them to live a life without fear and accomplish extraordinary things. Examples include Martin Luther, who nearly died in a storm and cried out to God to save him (he is now the second most written about person of all time), and Winston Churchill who nearly drowned as a child. How differently would you live if you knew when you were going to die?
The young Jeremiah was called by God at one of the darkest times in his nation’s history. He was given a dangerous and potentially deadly task. God told him that he would be rejected and hated. But, despite this, and Jeremiah’s traumatic reaction to this divine mandate, God gave him a priceless promise:
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the LORD.”
When would you most appreciate hearing God promise you, “I will be with you!” — in good times or bad? Jeremiah didn’t have this choice. God promised him that He would be with him. We might be forgiven for thinking that if God was with us, it would result in us being successful. After all, this is what …