We met for lunch a couple times a year for much of
the 90’s. Over time, my opinion of her zigzagged
from initial awe, to distaste, and finally to
pity. These facts emerged:
by Sam Williamson
had a client whose business-gifting
out-shined the stars of the Harvard
Business Review. Yet she scorched
everything she touched. Relationships went
rancid, projects were poisoned by punitive
criticism, and her management style left
A year later that former boyfriend married her
identical, twin sister.
- She was an identical
twin, younger by twenty minutes.
- Although an excellent
musician, she played second chair violin; her
twin played first.
- She failed to get into
medical school so she got an MBA; her sister
became a surgeon.
- When her boyfriend came
home for Easter, he fell in love with her
In the movie Chariots of Fire, someone
asks Harold Abrams why he runs so fast. He says,
“When that gun goes off, I raise my eyes and look
down that corridor, 4 feet wide, with 10
lonely seconds to justify my whole existence.”
Eric Liddle says, “When I run I feel God’s
People who appear indistinguishable on the outside
(fast, friendly, successful, or moral) are
energized by competing powers.
Greatness and saint-ness are not matters of
natural degree but matters of supernatural
infusion. The “great” dispose themselves to
endeavors, whereas great believers
gravitate toward God.
It is not a matter of activism versus mysticism;
the great go, whereas saints are sent.
Extraordinary heroes draw attention to the person
or plan (“Wasn’t Steve Jobs brilliant and isn’t
this church-growth plan wise?”) whereas spiritual
heroes are ordinary people who are made
extraordinary by the life of God inside them.
The worldly genius zigs. God calls us to zag.
We believers are too easily vitalized by the sweat
of human effort. When we worship worldly
wisdom—the “Three Keys” to this and the “Seven
Principles” of that—we make alliances with Egypt;
it tells us to rest in our best.
We “go” when God calls us to “come.” Our plots
hamstring God’s plans.
Recently (as if the world isn’t noisy enough),
those worldly mystics of mysteriously numbered
methods have begun to prefix their magic potions
with awe-inspiring modifiers: “Life-changing
Keys,” “Mind-blowing Lessons,” and “Staggering
I wonder what their older siblings do.
Relationship as Fuel
Relationships empower us for good or ill. Some
connections thrust us into rivalry, enmity, or
despair, but there is another connection that
supernaturally turns water into wine:
important aspect of Christianity is not the
work we do, but the relationship we maintain
and the surrounding influence and qualities
produced by that relationship. That is all
God asks us to give our attention to.
We too have an older sibling
who out-performs us in every conceivable
measure. But he doesn’t compete with us, he
completes us. The only fruit of our lives that
matters is produced by his life of God in us.
It is not our gifts that distinguish us nearly
as much as the fuel that animates them.
Sam Williamson has published
numerous articles and has written two books.
has a blog site, www.beliefsoftheheart.com,
and can be reached at
New book by Sam Williamson
God in Conversation: How to Recognize His
Voice Everywhere published by Kregel
available from Amazon
review by Don Schwager
two violinists (top), copyright by
VILevi at Bigstock.com