Summary: A man must have a vision that is bigger than all the obstacles that persists in his life.
THE SIZE OF THE SOUL
TEXT: Judges 14:6-15
Joshua 14:6 15 -- “Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh barnea.” “Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.” “Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.” “And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.” “And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.” “As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.” “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.” “And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.” “Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.” “And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath arba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.”
l. THE SIZE OF THE SOUL
-The size of a man’s soul is often determined when it is under pressure. He betrays himself when the chips are down. The depth of his character will be found out in the deepest trials of life. It is by trouble that the heart of a man is purified.
-On the other hand, prosperity has the tendency to intoxicate the conscience, it causes the hopes and dreams to become lethargic, it will fix the mind on the present and therefore, it will cause the future to perish. Prosperity destroys the imagination of the thinker and wilts the affections of the dreamer.
Lord Byron -- Adversity is the path of truth.
Tacitus -- Adversity has no friends.
-But I would choose to differ with the sentiments of Tacitus. One of the greatest friends of the church and of our lives is adversity.
A. An Illustration from the National Hockey League
I would have to admire Mario Lemieux because of his tremendous courage to fight Hodgkin’s Disease and his incredible skill in the sport of ice hockey. He is a model of persistence in the face of adversity.
Born in Canada, Lemieux led the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship title in 1991 and 1992. The Montreal native dropped out of school at the age of 16, a year after joining Montreal’s Laval Voisin junior hockey team. In 1984, the Pittsburgh Penguins, then in last place, made Lemieux the first selection in the NHL draft.
In his first year with the Penguins, Lemieux won the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year and his first most valuable player award in the NHL All Star game. He played an important part in the team’s gradual improvement in league standings and his performances drew increased attendance at games. In the 1987 1988 season Lemieux overtook Canadian hockey star Wayne Gretzky’s NHL high scorer title (for one season) by scoring or assisting in more than half of his team’s 319 goals. Lemieux won the Hart Trophy for that season’s most valuable player, and was the "Sporting News" Player of the Year. He repeated as scoring champion in 1989.
In 1991 and again in 1992, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup, and Lemieux was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy two years in a row as the most valuable player in the playoffs. In the 1991 1992 season, Lemieux also led the league in scoring, with 44 goals and 87 assists. In February of 1993, well on his way to another scoring title, Lemieux began to experience a numbing pain in his back. Upon a MRI it was discovered that he had cancer. He left the team to undergo treatment for Hodgkin’s disease. A little over a month later, he rejoined the Penguins in March and, despite missing 24 of the season’s 84 games, he won the Art Ross Trophy as leading scorer for the season. His illness caused him to miss the entire 1994 1995 season. He would come back for the 1995-1996 season and retire a year later. Yet it took unbelievable courage to return to the NHL even after cancer.