Because, as God clearly states in His word: "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:26–27). God states this same point in several different ways throughout His word.
In God’s Church, we should deeply love and appreciate one another and the various gifts that we do have—even though we may know that very few of us have truly great physical wealth, or great natural ability. God recognizes that, because we are more like "most ordinary folks," we may be more humble and may not have the same temptations to vanity and to resisting the Truth as have those with so much more ability. There are not now, nor have there ever been, very many Winston Churchills, Margaret Thatchers, Albert Einsteins or Marie Curies in the Church of God. These magnificently gifted people will have their opportunity in the Great White Throne Judgment.
But you and I are being called now to prepare to become full sons of God. We are called to emulate Jesus Christ. We are instructed: "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ’Be holy, for I am holy’" (1 Peter 1:15–16). And to achieve this awesome goal, we are commanded by our Savior: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
We must not allow anything to come between us and our transcendent goal. Our ultimate purpose must always come first. Moreover, because we are not the "great" of the world in natural ability, social standing or material wealth, we will need to put forth greater effort and to exercise a special zeal in our quest to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. But this is nothing unusual! For nearly every top athlete, senior corporate executive or major world leader has been willing to put forth extra effort in order to achieve his or her goal. Our young people in the Church, especially, need to realize this and be inspired to accomplish great things—for they can do so with God’s help and earnest extra effort on their part! It is inspiring to see many of our young people excel in their professional lives, while also making it a priority to help in their congregations and to help the brethren when God gives the opportunity to do so.
In his very inspiring biography of Winston Churchill, Robert Lewis Taylor describes the drive and unceasing energy Churchill poured into the effort of leading his nation during the critical days of World War II. Taylor writes: "The burdens of leadership take an incalculable toll in the passage of six war years, but Churchill seemed never to tire. He traveled thousands of miles, he worked each night until everyone else had gone to bed, and he arose refreshed to hurl the oratorical thunders that rallied a people from despondency and defeat" (Winston Churchill: The Biography of a Great Man, p. 363).
Here was a man who did not even begin his career as Prime Minister until about the time in life when most men were ready to retire. Yet, because his supreme goal was to enable his nation to survive Hitler’s onslaught and win the war, Churchill drove himself to accomplish an agenda that would have staggered most men even half his age!
Each of us must apply the example of Sir Winston (and of others like him) to our spiritual growth and accomplishment. For our God wants us to go "all out" in serving Him and in doing His Work! During this Laodicean era, God specifically warns us all: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (Revelation 3:15–16). Then God tells us: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent" (v. 19).
God appreciates those who go "all out" to serve Him. The Apostle Paul was inspired to write to the Colossians: "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23–24). And Solomon was inspired to tell us: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
When we read of Olympic champion swimmers rising before dawn to train themselves in strenuous swim workouts, then driving to their regular jobs and working all day, then returning home again at night for more strenuous exercise in the pool, we can appreciate the fact that they are willing to put forth great effort to achieve their goal. If our true goal is to reflect the zeal of Jesus Christ and to make a difference by giving our lives today in His service as a "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1), how vital it is that we demonstrate the same zeal that Jesus Christ Himself, the Apostle Paul and most of the other great biblical leaders demonstrated in their service to God.
Because many of us have grown up in "average" families, we may not have seen the examples of outstanding drive and zest that the world’s great leaders exemplify. Yet we are called to be truly great leaders—if we truly "overcome" (Revelation 2:26–27). We need to understand the reality of the situation, and start building the wisdom, the successful habits and the zeal of top leaders. "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" (1 Corinthians 6:2–3).
Remember, a vital part of the Fourth Commandment tells us: "Six days you shall labor and do all your work" (Exodus 20:9). Jesus told the Jews: "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working" (John 5:17). Even in this aspect of His human life, Jesus set us an example of zest and accomplishment.
In his very interesting book, Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America’s Richest Man, author Vance Trimble describes how the founder of Walmart became fabulously wealthy even though he was born to average parents, in average circumstances in the state of Arkansas—where he spent much of his life even after attaining wealth few of us can even begin to imagine. Over and over, Trimble cites comments from Walton’s friends and associates describing how hard he worked. Though not wealthy, his father did teach Sam a wonderful work ethic, which helped Sam later to become America’s richest man. Trimble relates: "Although not personally feeling the worst effects of the Depression, ’Sammy’ Walton was living up to his dad’s ’work, work, work’ ethic at Hickman High School. In addition to his man-killing regimen in academics and athletics, he found time for odd jobs and was more and more becoming self-supporting. Rolling out of bed at dawn, he delivered a route for the M.U. journalism students’ Columbia Missourian. Significantly, he also became a part-time helper in a Columbia five-and-ten-cent store" (p. 33). Sam Walton had to work really hard to succeed the way he did.
We all admire the Apostle Paul’s passion for Jesus Christ. However, many of us may sometimes forget that Paul also had a passion for work and for accomplishment. Paul states: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (1 Corinthians 15:10). Because he did love Jesus Christ, and because he was not afraid of hard work, the Apostle Paul evidently did more evangelizing, raised up more churches and wrote more books in the New Testament than any other man! What a magnificent reward Paul will receive when Christ returns as King of kings!
If we are to become even moderately successful in our endeavors in this life, we all need to learn to use our time and talents wisely. We need to "go the extra mile" on many occasions. And above and beyond all this, we should learn to go "all out" in working, in serving and in doing everything we can with zeal to prepare for the Kingdom of God. For Christ Himself said: "’And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work’" (Revelation 22:12).