You can’t achieve the extraordinary this way …

Has God given you a great dream? That certain something that would be your greatest life’s work?

Most of us have something great — at least, great to ourselves — that we want to accomplish in our lifetimes. Regarding that dream, you can likely count on this: you usually cannot achieve the extraordinary living ordinarily.

Wouldn’t it be great to build a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate just working 9 to 5, weekends off, and a few weeks of vacation every year?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to become a world-reknowned surgeon with just a year or two of required college courses and a brief internship?

Wouldn’t it be great to be recognized as an outstanding teacher without having to pour yourself into the lives of your students, many of whom aren’t interested in learning and don’t think very highly of you?

Wouldn’t it be an incredible miracle to lead scores of people to Jesus Christ without having to lose any family time, or without having to be open to ridicule, or without having to really study and learn the Word of God?

Wouldn’t it be so convenient if we could do what we really enjoy doing, the way we like to do it, and make really good money at it, and then, after we’ve created the life we want in the fullest way possible, to then turn our talents toward the benefit of God’s kingdom and see instant results?

Yeah, it’s obvious all of the above aren’t just dreams, they’re “pipe dreams,” but they do represent how many people actually think. We may have great God-given dreams, but we want to achieve them from a comfortable position. And if we can’t do it comfortably, it often will not be done.

Well, you usually cannot achieve the extraordinary living ordinarily.

Look at the stories of the lives of the great men and women in the Bible. You’ll often read how they were first prepared and equipped for an extended period of time before being used by God in a great way. And you’ll certainly read of how most of them paid dearly for being available to God for the extraordinary uses He had for them.

When James Garfield was principal of Hiram College in Ohio (he would later become President of the United States), a father asked him if the course of study could be simplified so that his son might be able to finish by a shorter route.

“Certainly,” Garfield replied. “But it all depends on what you want to make of your boy. When God wants to make an oak tree, He takes a hundred years. When He wants to make a squash, He requires only two months.”

Are you happy being a squash? Then live ordinarily. But if you dream of being a mighty oak, you’ll have to endure paying the cost of growing into something so majestic.