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"Famous Or Faithful?"
"See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!" (Galatians 6:11).
A thought-provoking message on a church sign states: "Better to be faithful than famous." Although there are some noted famous people who are also faithful consider those whom so many recognize as "famous" who are certainly not faithful. Merely consider so many of the famous names in sports, entertainment and politics. The desire for fame drives others to seek it using evil means such as the recent mass murderer in the Omaha shopping mall. News reports indicate his suicide note stated, "Now I'll be famous."
Today I'd like to introduce you to a friend who is not famous but he is faithful. In fact only a few readers have ever heard of him. Everett was a part of the church I served in Taunton Massachusetts in the nineties. He's been in that church since the early 70's and continues to attend now over 30 years later.
Everett never finished high school and has a reading disorder known as dyslexia. He's had a lot of overcoming in life, yet he sought to provide for his family and is an outstanding "handyman". In 1999 Everett was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that further hindered him and he is now retired, but like the Energizer bunny, he just keeps on going.
He had a burden to read through the Bible. Reading is very hard for him and his reading pace is very slow and extremely laborious, but he managed to get through it. The few minutes it takes the average person to read a chapter may require several hours for Everett. He wants to live his life for Christ and use the skills that God has given him to make a difference, rather than make excuses for the skills or talents he doesn't have.
Many scholars speculate that the apostle Paul had a chronic eye problem. In his epistle to the Galatians he refers to an illness which was a major trial when he visited them. He wrote, "If you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me" (Galatians 4:15). In the daily text he likely refers to this ailment when he concludes the letter in his own handwriting and says, "See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!"
In the case of the daily text it seems that that most of the book was dictated to an associate, technically called an "amanuensis." As I examine this passage I consider just how meaningful having the esteemed Apostle's very own handwriting must have been to the initial reader. It was a mark of authenticity but also a very personal expression. (Only the original handwritten document would have conveyed this since as the document was copied it would have all been in the same handwriting and of course no distinction is made in the text type in our printed Bibles.)
In 2 Corinthians he speaks of a "thorn in the flesh", which may also be referring to this very same physical ailment. He prayed to have this affliction removed, but instead God gave him these words of assurance: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul had this and other excuses to hinder his work but he didn't let them. His negative critics said, "His letters are weighty and forceful, in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The Apostle Paul and our brother, Everett, are both faithful overcomers. Paul of course became famous but Everett, like the vast majority that serve God, has not. We all have excuses, but God doesn't want us to lean on them. Rather He wants us to lean on Him, for when we are weak, then He is strong. Let us all be faithful overcomers by His grace. It is better to be faithful than famous!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Lord Jesus, we are inspired by those very special people that You have called out from among the ordinary. They look to You for physical strength and extraordinary faith to overcome the obstacles that would otherwise hinder their ability to live a productive life. They're living examples of the redeemed who have invited Your strength to be perfected in their weakness. When we are powerless, You are all-powerful and You receive the glory due Your name. So help us not to resent our weaknesses or limitations, for it is in these challenges that we can take no credit but rather give honor to the One who makes all things possible for those who believe. Amen.
Everett gave me permission to tell his story. I called him this morning for an update on his condition and we had a nice time of sharing over the phone.
We had our first significant snowfall this season and it's still very cold outside.
This photo was taken by Doris High and used by permission.
Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.
"A Servant's heart" (Audio)
"Take My Life And Let It Be" (Audio)
"Potter's Hand" (Audio)
"Famous One" (Audio) A song concerning the Lord!
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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