One Common Life

I walked through the grand cross-shaped opening into another dimension. Visiting the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, is no ordinary experience simply because Billy Graham was no ordinary man. Scratch that. Dr. Graham was a common country boy raised on a dairy farm who aligned himself with God in such a way that the world will never be the same as a result. The library tour is aptly termed “journey of faith,” as one’s own relationship with God and the world is prodded by gaining glimpse after glimpse of the profound breadth of Graham’s evangelistic reach, forged on the anvil of surrender and crucible of the Great Commision.
Never underestimate the value or potential of a solitary life. History is largely a collection of individual narratives magnified by critical moments. But what makes a life stand the test of time, rising above mediocrity and the temporal? David Brooks, author of “The Road to Character”, wrote in the New York Times on April 11, 2011:

“It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.”

We are, each of us, common clay, but therein lies our creative potential; our responsibility and opportunity is to lead value-based lives. Oswald Chambers speaks to this when he writes: “True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion. If we will only give up, God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender. Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God. Most of us have only a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it.” Each of us is called to come to the end of ourselves by surrendering all we are to Christ, whose modus operandi is transforming ordinary into the extraordinary. 


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