Edwin Middleton was a businessman, a teacher in his church, a lover of young people, and a voice of the past which is worth listening to.
He had a great influence on our great grandfathers. His message was a lesson young people need today. Some of you will remember the broadcast of Drew Pearson, who was advertising for the Lee Hat Company with the slogan, “Don’t take less than the best, don’t take less than a Lee!”
That reminds me that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing your best. Give life your best, and the best will come back to you. The Master deserves our best. He died on the cross to save us from our sins, and we dare not give Him anything less than our best.
Middleton writes about two men lunching one day a few weeks after the coronation of King George V. His office was on the street where the royal procession was to pass. From his office window, he saw a young lad of about fifteen, who had climbed up the lamp post on the street, one leg was over the crossbar, and two arms holding the lamp. Middleton said the businessman edged his way through the crowd to the lamp post and called out to the lad, “I can get you a better seat if you will slip down the lamp post and follow me.” The businessman and the lad walked to his office, then to the roof, where the boy sat on the stone parapet and watched the crowd below.
The excited young lad said to the businessman, “Do you see the lamps on the royal coach? Aren’t they bright and shining?” The lad never took his eyes off the lamps on the royal coach. When the royal procession was over, the businessman, who had given him the best seat in town, asked the lad, “Sonny, tell me, what is all this fuss about the lamps on the royal coach?” “Well, sir,” said the boy, “It’s like this: I am employed at the factory and our firm got the order to renovate and redecorate the royal coach, and my job was to polish the royal lamps.” If all of us decided to give only our best, what a wonderful world we would have.
I once asked an actor the secret of his success on the stage. He replied, “When I walk on the stage, I resolve always to do my very best, regardless of the weather, the crowd or my feelings. I have always been faithful to that resolution.” If an actor, for the entertainment of people for a night, can afford to do his best every time he enters the stage, what should I, a minister of the gospel, dealing with grief and failure, life and death, heaven and hell, say? We must speak a good word for God. He stands ready to forgive our sins. Every preacher and teacher who has been called to speak will have a word from God. There is no greater privilege than to be a spokesman for God. Never give anything but your best.
We are reminded that everything in life has a price tag. The cross was the price Jesus paid that we might have eternal life. He gladly paid the price, unflinchingly, because He loved us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The psalmist said, “Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” (Psalm 103:1,2)
“God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.”
Annie Johnson Flint