Mr. Lincoln's Opinion

It's said 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. Gurley.

During the 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."

"Then you thought it was an excellent sermon?" questioned the aide.

"No," Lincoln answered.

"But you said that the content was excellent.  It was delivered with eloquence, and it showed how hard he worked," the aide pressed.

"That's true," Lincoln said, "But Dr. Gurley forgot the most important ingredient.  He forgot to ask us to do something great."


I believe 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! by Ken Blanchard & Jesse Stoner