Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, said in one of his most famous speeches, “If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world. We cannot avoid meeting great issues. All that we can determine for ourselves is whether we shall meet them well or ill.” There is a healthy balance in TR’s words. Greatness is not hampered by difficult circumstances or tough issues. In fact, greatness would not be great unless there were monumental challenges to overcome. Victory would not be sweetly savored unless defeat had been stared in the eye.
Meeting challenges is inevitable. Jesus said so when He told the disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation.” But rather than launch into a discussion of how we are to deal with personal burdens, I want to spend the balance of this piece talking about our obligation to the greatest issue facing mankind.
Though TR wasn’t talking about Christianity in his Chicago speech, his words apply. “If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world.” Our individual relationships with Christ are intensely personal on the one hand, but on the other, we are to be beacons of light to those around us. We are to be actively intervening on behalf of people against the enemy as he tries his best to ramrod them into the destitution of his agenda.
All around us there are people struggling with challenges spanning the gamut from individual, to national, to societal. The effects of mankind’s consistent decision to live independently of God are evident even though we posture and pose and erect façade’s to hide our poor state of affairs.
It makes no difference what the fleshly tactic of independence is. All flesh is sin and ultimately it renders its consequence.
And into this milieu we have been inserted, endowed with power from on high, and entrusted to bear witness. But how does this work for the quiet among us, the introverted, and the shy? In the course of life, what does greatness truly entail? That’s next....