Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Self Made Man

I am currently reading a book on Lincoln by David Donald. A group of guys and myself read a book (or books) each "winter" on a famous historical figure. Abraham Lincoln won the honor this year. I am completely fascinated by history so for the next few months I will probably drop a few things I am learning as I study Lincoln.

One of the first things that the book points out is the concept of Lincoln being a self made man. In other words, he was not handed anything in life. What he acquired and accomplished he did so on his own. In quoting a cousin and his stepmother the book writes, "somewhat dull...not a brilliant boy - but he worked his way by toil: to learn was hard for him, but he worked slowly, but surely. He must understand everything - even to the smallest thing - minutely and exactly. He would then repeat it over to himself again and again - some times in one form and then in an other and when it was fixed in his mind to suit him he...never lost that fact or his understanding of it." The guy came from nothing to make himself into one of the most revered figures in American history. Reading his story forces me to think about my own work ethic. Do I have that same drive, that same push, that same need to work my way through life? What am I not accomplishing because I lack the zeal that pushed Lincoln forward?

Another key was the book talking about Lincoln's early foray into the public service sector. Donald writes, "Lincoln seems to have had the unusual notion that a public servant's first duty is to help people, rather than to follow bureaucratic regulations." I am mesmerized by this quote. Not only for public servants but people in the church. Sometimes the bureaucratic regulations become so overwhelming for people in the church that we follow rules and conform to patterns of regulations and miss out that God never called anyone to work at a church. God calls us to love Him and love people. If we miss out on that and forget that no matter where we work we must learn to always help people, than what's the point? Everyone in the church is responsible for that. Sadly, it is "unsual" when people care more about other people than regulations.

The book is good so far. I recommend it off the first 70 pages...


Brandy said...

Ooohhh...that sounds like a great book. My book list is getting longer and longer and I can't quite read quick enough!
When it comes to putting people first, it looks like Lincoln had the right idea!
Have a great day, Landon!