Andrew Jackson was a U.S. military hero who became President of the Republic. But although he became the most powerful man in the nation, he never forgot, nor was he ever ashamed of, his humble beginnings.
Once, on the campaign trail, a heckler tried to embarrass him by reference to his former life as a tailor. Unflustered, Jackson retorted that he had always been a god tailor, remarking, “My garments never ripped or gave way”.
A later President , also with Ulster -Scots blood, was likewise unrepentant about the humble estate from which he had risen. James Abraham Garfield paid his way through college by persuading the college authorities to allow him to act as janitor in exchange for tuition. Each morning, he would ring the University bell to signal the start of classes, and then troop off with other students to his lectures. Before long , he was a professor, and then Dean, in the college where he had once been a janitor.
Those political titans prove the truth Jesus conveyed in the parable of the talents, where the servant is told, “You have been faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things’”(Matthew 25; 21). All of which shows that we ought to be diligent in whatever task falls to us, rather than scorning tasks because we feel them beneath our dignity.
Nehemiah was an Old Testament hero, instrumental in the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the catastrophe of exile. That event revealed that he was an organisational genius with a will of iron. but how did he find himself in that position? The answer is that he was faithful in his humble role as a cupbearer to the king, who came to ask him why his face was sad. (Nehemiah 2;2).
If Jesus had been a shoddy carpenter, would those sturdy fishermen have left all to follow him? He showed himself to be faithful in little things.
John A. Hutton, one -time minister in London’s celebrated Westminster Chapel wrote: “We never can tell, until the day comes, what things in our experience are going to prove of greatest help to us in the mature and final work of our lives’. That’s why, whatever our work, we need to do it, and do it well.”