November 24-25, 2007
by Charles R. Swindoll
We salute visionaries of yesteryear. We shake our heads in amazement as we imagine the herculean courage it took to stand so confidently when the majority frowned so sternly. Looking back, we laud those who refused to take no for an answer. We quote them with gusto. We even name our children after them. Yesterday’s progress earns today’s monuments of stone.
But today? What do we do with such creatures today? We brand them as irritating malcontents, reckless idealists who simply won’t sit down and be quiet. Today’s progressive dreamers are seen as wild-eyed extremists. Since they hate the status quo mold, most of them have a tough time going along with the system. They, in fact, loathe the system. But what they lack in diplomacy they make up for in persistence. Cooperative they’re not. Resilient they are.
Give most of them a couple hundred years and they’ll be admired, lauded, and knighted. But at the present moment, they just seem nuts.
I can scarcely think of a half-dozen churches, for example, that would even consider having Martin Luther candidate for the pulpit. And it’s doubtful that any businesses would hire Thomas Edison or Leonardo da Vinci. Which evangelical seminary would chance turning over its students majoring in systematic theology to a firebrand like John Knox? And who, today, would choose to go into battle with a blood-and-guts, straight-shooting commanding officer like George Patton? For that matter, how many votes would a crusty, outspoken, overweight visionary like Winston Churchill or a rugged Andrew Jackson get in our day of slick government and made-for-TV bureaucrats and politicians? You think we’d respect their progressiveness and value their vision? Don’t bet on it. People didn’t in their day, either.
Are you an eagle-type, soaring high beyond your peers? Do you find yourself bored with the maintenance of the machinery . . . yawning through the review of the rules . . . restless to cut a new swath . . . excited rather than intimidated by the risks? If so, don’t expect pats on the back or great waves of applause. Chances are you may even lose a few jobs, fail a few courses, ruffle tons of feathers, and be the subject of the town gossip. Mavericks who don’t color within the lines are also notorious for not staying within the fences. And that makes folks terribly uncomfortable.
But take heart! You’re in good company!
Today’s alleged heretic may well be tomorrow’s hero.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.