What you see is not always what you get. Winston Churchill is proof-positive!
His early report cards were not promising:
- Writing: "Good -- but so terribly slow." Composition: "Very feeble." Spelling: "About as bad as it well can be."
- Conduct: "Exceedingly bad. He is not to be trusted to do any one thing."
- Diligence: "Does not quite understand the meaning of hard work."
- Position: "His place in the Division of nine boys was ninth; his place in the Set of thirteen was thirteenth."
His later "report cards" were an entirely different matter:
- Writing: "Writing is an adventure," he said later in life. An adventure it was. Churchill penned 73 volumes during his lifetime.
- Conduct: In 1951 his daughter wrote him, "It is hardly in the nature of things that your descendants should inherit your genius--but I earnestly hope they may share in some way the quality of your heart."
- Diligence: This is the man who bolstered his nation with the words, We shall go on to the end. . . . we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; We shall never surrender.
- Position: He served as Prime Minister of Great Britain two times. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The queen made him a Knight of the Order of the Garter, Britain’s highest order of knighthood.
Like Churchill, Paul was a man with "report cards" that looked as different as night and day. His past was not pretty, but God transformed it into a powerful present. Because Paul experienced God's power he was able to encourage his friends with words meant to encourage all of us:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV
Christians view life through the eyes of faith. Because the One they serve can do "immeasurably more," their horizons are not limited by their present line of sight.
Remember that! Because today you will meet a Churchill. It may be a child at school, a member of your family, a co-worker, or a passerby. What you see is not necessarily what one will become. Refuse to settle for what is. Look to the One able to do immeasurably more!
Quotes from Churchill: A Life, by Martin Gilbert, pages 4-6; 887; 959 and Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons, June 4, 1940.