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People Not Afraid of Greatness

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:16

During the American Revolutionary War, there was a group of solders called the minutemen. Minutemen were intensely patriotic civilian colonists, who organized a militia, after arming themselves. The term originated from their ability to be called at a “minute’s” notice and be rapidly deployed to face the enemy. They came from any class, the only requirement being a love for country strong enough to put their lives at risk. By day, they would go about their business alert, and every night they would sleep with weapons readied, should the enemy mount an attack.

We are 172 years past 1844, and still waiting our Lord’s return. Life and business continue, yet we see still experience world conflicts. As a young man, I often wonder how to live in this stage of prophetic history, specifically regarding pursuits. Some in our church subtly ascribe to the perspective that to pursue high things with a knowledge of God’s imminent return is not congruent, and that it is almost admirable to have such an opportunity presented, but sacrifice it, in order to engage in “true” end-time ministry. Others might let their desire to be great for God blend with personal ambition. 

Is pursuing highly specialized education or training, something the remnant should do in the last days? I am convinced it is a matter of humility and character. Daniel and his three friends were among the world’s most educated scholars. It can be inferred that they spent long years of rigorous training in the educational capital of their day. God’s blessings for their faithfulness did not go without hard work, resiliency, and perhaps sometimes tears and disappointment. Yet I do not imagine them as gloomy, because God was their joy.

A piece of advice I heard from an accomplished professor has stuck with me for a few years: plan life as if God is coming in ten years, but carry it out as if He could come tomorrow. God needs influential people, who dream big, and see possibilities where others do not—people who are not afraid of greatness. Yet even more than that, He needs the consecrated, humble, and faithful.

Like Daniel, many today are still in preparation for what the world calls a career. Some may go longer than others but just before Jesus’ coming, many will find themselves in higher education. There will be students of all levels, from kindergarten to medical fellows, dedicating effort to their learning. The higher position attained, the more the devil is able to tempt us to either take the credit for our work, or remain dissatisfied with our level of influence and want more.

Many young people are either being pushed, or are pushing themselves to achieve. Family expectations or a personal sense of achievement play a frequent role. While I truly believe that the world needs many Godly influential people, those should be a personal calling from God, who alone can enable it. Any job, in and of it self, should never stop a man from being a worker for God, and Christians should never rule something out, out of fear. It is losing sight of Jesus, our clearly defined mission, and our dependence on Him that must be guarded against. However, it is also important to be very aware of our environment and how our own values and character are constantly changing; no achievement in this world is worth paying for with character.

A physician could have chosen to be a minuteman, as could a fisherman, a carpenter, a blacksmith, a lawyer, a sailor, a politician, or even a student. They were all at their best, during their day job; but every night, they would sleep knowing where their weapons were. Though they continued to work, the war made them redefine themselves, not by their peacetime trades, but by their simultaneous commitment to supporting the greater cause. And we can have this mindset today, that our civilian jobs are not ever more important than the calling of direct service to God.

As a current student, I’m where I am: neither in residency, nor a practicing doctor. As God directs, I’ll have to see where I can do the most good. He may show me that it’s remaining in training to be a witness to those in that world. Or it may become clear that it is becoming a distraction. Those decisions are yet in the future, though. For now, I’ll be a student and train hard. But when I lay down to rest after each day, I have to ask myself, if my plans must rapidly change for God’s greater cause, am I ready?

I am a 4th year medical student at Loma Linda University in California. I enjoy reading and conversing about: medicine, religion, ethical situations, healthy living, cooking, and planning adventures in nature.

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