that Abraham Lincoln often slipped out of the White House on Wednesday evenings
to listen to the sermons of Dr. Finnes Gurley at New York avenue Presbyterian
Church. He generally preferred to come and go unnoticed. So when Dr.
Gurley knew the president was coming, he left his study door open.
On one of
those occasions, the president slipped through a side door in the church and
took a seat in the minister's study, located just to the side of the
sanctuary. There he propped the door open, just wide enough to hear Dr.
walk home, an aide asked Mr. Lincoln his appraisal of the sermon. The
president thoughtfully replied, "The content was excellent; he delivered
with elegance; he obviously put work into the message."
you thought it was an excellent sermon?" questioned the aide.
you said that the content was excellent. It was delivered with eloquence,
and it showed how hard he worked," the aide pressed.
true," Lincoln said, "But Dr. Gurley forgot the most important
ingredient. He forgot to ask us to do something great."
there is nothing wrong with average lives and average accomplishments; most of
the good of the world builds on the accumulated efforts of everyday
people. But a life should strive for greatness, as Lincoln seemed to know.
From Full Steam Ahead!
Ken Blanchard & Jesse Stoner