But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.
I have always been fascinated by the stories of those who have achieved great wealth or influence coming from humble beginnings. Do you remember this picture? The son of a candle maker who goes to the big city to make something out of himself? Does this picture help? Sure enough it is Ben Franklin. One of the key architects of this great experiment we call America.
Thinking about Ben Franklin a phrase comes to mind. The self-made man. Someone who follows his dreams and lives life with passion and hard work. I think of Sam Walton, who would be the richest man in the world by far today if he were still alive. Walton returned from serving in the army in WWII and took money he had saved to buy a Ben Franklin 5 and Dime store. Interesting. Well, he built a few other stores, as well, didn’t he?
Or take Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle, the sixth richest man in the world, who was born of an unwed mother and shipped off to his aunt and uncle to be raised in a tiny apartment in Chicago. When his adoptive mother died he dropped out of college and started an database company, Oracle, with $2000. Now if you go to Maui and look out over to the island of Lanai, realize Larry Ellison owns that whole island!
So what exactly is a self-made man? I don’t know because I have never met one. Actually it’s all a myth. It doesn’t make any difference what your background or upbringing is, how hard you work, how persistent you are, the fortune you make, you are not self-made.
You are God-made.
You have never met anyone who made themselves. We are God-made men and women. God-made. You and the person sitting next to you. We are all special in this way. The only way that really counts. God-made. We are sons and daughters of God, and we are special like any other person who realizes they are not special in the traditional way of looking at it. We are not self-made. We didn’t do anything to deserve our existence except we do exist. We thank God for our existence and we thank him for deciding we are his children.
If only it was this easy.
Since wandering in the wilderness, God’s people, and I include us here, have acted like we are special and God owes us something. We act as if we instinctively know God should do what we want him to do. Now, add to this another layer, God comes to earth specifically in Jesus.
Name five people who have had a strong influence in your life.