Success is found in finding and realizing that you are created by God, specifically by Him and that His fingerprint is on every single human life that has ever existed.
I think of a little baby who’s been abandoned. And God has created that baby and God’s fingerprint is on that baby and God sends His angels to protect and love these babies, even the least of them. God loves them all.
A good friend of mine had a friend of his who had an original Leonardo DaVinci in his house. This gentleman lived in Europe, his great, great, great, great, great grandfather had commissioned Leonardo to paint this portrait, which hangs in his house, and the world has never seen it. He doesn’t want the world to know it exists. So I’m not even going to tell what country he’s from. But my friend was in his home, saw it, admired it, loved it, asked him if he could send a painter to come and to copy it so that he could have it in his house. Good idea, you know? So he did. The painter had done just about everything when he got a call and my friend Terry picks up the call and he goes yeah what’s up? And he goes I don’t know how to duplicate the buttons. Oh, what do you mean? Just paint the buttons. He goes I can get close, but I can’t duplicate it. He goes well why not? I can’t duplicate it because it is the actual, like first of all, I couldn’t figure out how he did it. What kind of brush strokes he did. And I finally figured out how he did it. He actually used his fingers and he put his thumbprints to make the buttons. I just can’t duplicate that.
God puts His fingerprint on your life where you are. You know science doesn’t create things. What science does is discover things. And what they do is they discover most of what we already know from the Bible and they just reveal it in a different way. For instance, science is telling us today that there are no two human beings the same because we can look at the fingerprints. We can look at the DNA. We can look at the irises and we can know without a question or a doubt that it is specific and unique to every single one of us. And that’s science proving that God’s fingerprint is on every human being, created for a purpose and for a reason. And so we are called to live by faith not by sight. Vision is carnal, faith is eternal. Vision is physical, faith is spiritual. Vision is weak, faith is strong. Vision is fallible, faith is infallible. Vision can fail you, faith will never fail you. It may require you to do some things that seem really odd and strange to other people, and maybe even seem really strange and awkward to yourself. But when we live by faith, things unfold in ways that we cannot possibly imagine.
Eleven hundred and fifty years before Christ was born, there was a man, now it’s in the Bible, you can read it. His name was Gideon. And God called Gideon to defeat the Middionites. The Middionites are these traveling warriors who simply existed by defeating other nations and devouring them. And they were coming to Israel and God called Gideon to face the Middionites. And Gideon looked in the mirror and he looked at God and he said Lord You’re calling me? Of all of the tribes of Israel, mine is the least. Of all the families of my tribe, mine is the least. Of all the children in my family, I am the least, and You’re calling me? And God called him because God knew that he would follow Him, that he would do what He asked him to do and when I tell you what He asked him to do, you would agree with me; this seems kind of silly that God would even conceive of such a thing. And it’s even more incomprehensible that Gideon would do such a thing. Started off with 24,000 troops he had mustered. He had the people of Israel to back him up. And then God said to Gideon, you have too many people. Too many? How can you have too many? He says you have too many. Just tell all the ones who don’t want to fight, who are afraid, to go home. So 22,000 left. He’s left with 2,000. And God looks at the 2,000 troops he has left and He goes do you know what? You have too many. Too many, I only have 2,000! Are you nuts? You have too many. He says here’s what I want you to do. I want you to march them through the deserts and when you get to this stream, those who fall face down in the stream, tell them to go. Those who kneel by the stream and take their hand and cup it and drink out of their hand, they stay. Three hundred are left. That’s it. Three hundred. And with three hundred people, three hundred men, Gideon led them into battle, they never picked up a sword, they never struck down a Middionite, the Middionites turn on each other and defeated themselves. And all they did was chase the Middionites out of Israel and they left. Only God could do such a thing. And God chooses people of faith because God knows that people of faith will do what He asks them to do.
And what does God ask you to do today? He wants you to do what you’ve been called to do and not what somebody else has been called to do. He asks you first and foremost above everything else, to live by faith, which simply means you follow Jesus. Jesus said, “Follow Me.” And that’s what He asks us to do, to follow Him. “Follow Me and I’ll make you fishers of men.” DJ experienced that didn’t he? He became a fisher of men.
And in 1863, July 1863, the Civil War was in full bloom. The battle of Gettysburg took place in July and there were thousands of union and confederate soldiers strewed over those fields. The cemetery was designed and commissioned by David Wells, who was an attorney, who has been contracted by the governor and the plans to dedicate the cemetery were set for September 23rd. They wanted a specific orator, well known for his skills to come and give the dedication speech. So they invited Edward Everett. Everett served the United States as secretary of state, both the senate and a member of the US House of Representatives, he was a foreign minister to Britain, he was America’s first PhD. He was governor of Massachusetts and president of Harvard University. And he was recognized as the number one orator of the world at that time. He was asked to give the address September 23rd for the dedication but he couldn’t do it. He said he doesn’t have enough time to prepare for it so the earliest he would be able to do it would be November 19th. So they moved the date to November 19th, just so he’d have enough time to write his message. I would like to have three months to prepare each message I deliver, too. So they changed the date so he could have time to write his message. So he did. He wrote 13,607 words. His message was over 2 hours long. His opening sentence was “standing beneath at the serene sky, overlooking these broad fields, now reposed from the labors of the waning years,” and he went on for two hours. Has anyone here read his message? One person has? Oh interesting. I’ve never read his message.
That same day with only a week’s notice, the president of the United States was asked to speak. It was a last minute thought, thinking he might come. He wrote 250 words. Two minutes long. And he said “Fore score and seven years ago, our father’s brought forth on this continent a new nation. Conceived of liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we’re engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are men on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here. But it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living rather than to be dedicated here, to the unfinished work, which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth.” And Abraham Lincoln sat down. He made one mistake. He said the world would not remember and we do. Remember those words because they touch the very heart of our nation and our soul.
God calls us all. He doesn’t call the best, the prettiest, the smartest, He doesn’t call those who are exceptional in all of their fields, He calls every single human being on planet earth to fulfill the calling that He has given to them. Follow Me, He says, and I’ll make you fishers of men. And how do you become a fisher of men? Well, one of the things you can do is simply bring somebody to church next Sunday. You know that sounds like an easy trite thing but you have absolutely no idea what depth and power that can have in a human’s life. You all know somebody who needs to be here who isn’t here. You all know someone who will come if you asked them. And I promise you, if you ask five people one of them will say yes. And furthermore, I would dare to bet you that would be the one you least expect to say yes. It almost always turns out that way and in so doing; you can fulfill the great commission that Christ has given to us. You know the great commission is found in Mark and it concludes with these words, “And the Lord worked with them.” Isn’t that beautiful? And the Lord worked with them. And that’s what happens with us. We don’t do it on our own, but the Lord works with us.