I recall one day riding on a Fort-Wayne train through Indiana. I chanced to overhear a bit of conversation. Two men, chance acquaintances, were talking. One of them had his home in Elkhart. The other asked him where Elkhart is. By the side of the Elkhart man there sat a little sweet-faced boy. Instantly, as the question was asked, he looked up with surprised eyes, and said, "Don't you know where Elkhart is? Why, Elkhart is down where I live."
The amusing childish words seemed to have a familiar sound. I seem to have run across a few people whose idea of God's world is about on the level of the small boy's. The world is where they live. The rest is a hazy, vague something, or -- nothing. It exists for them, if it exists at all in their thoughts.
"Living for self, for self alone, for self and none beside; Just as if Jesus had never lived, as if Jesus had never died."
It would be pitiable and pathetic enough if only these people themselves were concerned in their poor, stunted, narrow-alley living. But it is more than that; it is tragic, because of the multitude of brothers, here and abroad, sorely needing the help that was meant to go out to them through us.
Then most men live narrow lives so far as the daily round is concerned. The home, or shop, or store, or office is their daily horizon, with practically the same round of duties day after day, year in and year out. The very narrowness of the round tends to make narrow people. They get into as much of a rut in their thinking as their daily action is apt to become. Their work runs in fixed grooves that are apt to become fixed ruts. And this makes ruts in their thinking. Their souls seem to grow small by the very smallness and sameness of the daily tread. That is the life of the great crowd of men all over the world.
It's an immense relief to see something big Big things always attract. Is it partly because our daily round is so narrow and small? Jesus plans a bigness that shall refresh us constantly. We have hearts big enough to hold a world, and brains able to plan for a planet, even while our feet tread the same old shut-in path.
A young man may be going a commonplace, treadmill sort of grind, in a small corner of some great manufacturing concern, and be at the same time carrying on a bigger enterprise than the president of his concern. For he may be planning and praying for a world, and actually lifting it up in the arms of his strong purpose toward the level of God.
The shipping clerk may be hammering in barrel-heads all day long, but each blow may help emphasize the prayer of his heart for China, or India, or his Sunday-school class.
"Forenoon, afternoon, and night,
The Master's gracious plan is that we shall have the refreshment of doing big things. We are made for big things. They help us grow into the big size that belongs to us. World-winning is a great boon to the crowd compelled by the habit of life to tread a narrow path.