photo © 2007 Louise Docker more info (via: Wylio)Gideon Maxwell has dreamed of owning a horse ranch where he can breed sturdy draft animals to serve the farming community in and around Willow Creek, Iowa. But there are obstacles he must overcome before his dream is reality.
Anyone who has ever had a goal has encountered obstacles - some more formidable than others. Gideon, the hero in Leave Me Never, operates the mercantile he inherited when his father died. While he is grateful for the source of income that has kept a roof over his and his sister's heads and food on their table, being a storekeeper isn't what Gideon wants to do. The biggest obstacle in the way of Gideon realizing his dream is Henry Kilgore, an unscrupulous man of greed. As it becomes less and less likely that Gideon will be able to reach his goal, he has a choice. He can give up, he can lower his expectations, he can allow failure to affect his faith, and he can become bitter and hateful in his dealings with other people. What if we, as children of God, adopted those attitudes when things didn't turn out the way we hoped?
Every writer is familiar with the infamous rejection letter. I have a file filled with them. Every time I received another rejection, it would have been easy to throw in the towel and say, "Forget it. I can't do this. I never should have thought I could be a writer. The disappointment is too hard to take." One of the reasons I didn't quit was because of the encouragement and help I received from other writers. They had their own rejections and set-backs, they had deadlines and family responsibilities, and they had their own manuscripts to write, but those things didn't stop them from helping others in the writing community. The other reason I didn't quit was because I knew beyond any doubt that God was directing me to write and honor Him with my writing.
Gideon is certainly disappointed that his dream is slipping through his fingers, but instead of grousing and complaining, he sets his hands and his heart to a task that will make someone else's dream come true. In spite of his own frustrated efforts to achieve his dream, he doesn't lose sight of God's hand on his life and he endeavors to maintain a servant's heart.
Galatians 6:10 says, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are the household of faith." Gideon has an opportunity, not to further his own agenda, but to do something for someone else. It's possible that his effort will spill over and bring more business to the mercantile, but it's not guaranteed, nor does it help move him toward his goal of ranch ownership. What Gideon does in the story is selfless act of consideration. But more than that, it was an act of obedience. Gideon headed God's direction without any anticipation of his action benefiting himself. Just like those writers who took the time to mentor me. Having a servant's heart means taking the focus off yourself and allowing God to use you to benefit someone else.
Do you have knowledge or skills that, when given to God for His use, could make you a servant?
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