"If I could preach like So-and-so, what I would accomplish for the Lord!" another says; or, "If I had the money So-and-so has, what I could accomplish for the kingdom!"
"If my circumstances were different, I might hope to do something," comes from another.
But all these are like the dreamer who says, "Tomorrow I will do great things," and yet today he does nothing.
Make the Best of Yourself.
You will always be yourself. You can never be any one else. If you ever accomplish anything, it will be through those powers and abilities you now possess. It is of no use to lament that you are not as somebody else is; it is of no use to envy another's talents. You are only yourself. You might as well face that fact, and endeavor to make the best possible use of the gifts you have. They may look very small compared with those of some others, but they are all you have. Time spent in troubling yourself because you are not greater is worse than wasted. The question is, Shall I improve and make use of what I have?
Man is capable of great development. Eye, hand, strength, mind, will -- in fact, the whole man may, by proper efforts, be taught and developed, and expanded until he becomes something very different from what he was at first. The blessing of God will help us much, but that will not take the place of our own determined and persevering efforts.
Have you ever attempted to develop yourself? Do not think that because your abilities now seem small they never can be greater. You were only a child once. You did not think that you never would be larger. You looked eagerly forward to the time when you would be as large as grown-up people. Each day you ate and drank and breathed and exercised -- the very things that would produce the growth that you desired. You used what you had of energy and strength, and thus increased them. We ought to be as wise in spiritual things as in natural things. Paul said to Timothy, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee."
You must make use of what you have, then God will bestow more. But he can not bestow more until you use with your might what you have. You are, so to speak, the raw material of what you may be. What you will be depends on the use you make of this material. The responsibility for the final product lies with you. Develop your mind, develop your soul, develop patience, courage, faith, loyalty, justice, benevolence, endurance, cheerfulness, determination, diligence, industry, and all those other qualities that make up real Christian manhood and that are the foundation of success in life. If you lack the will to try and keep trying, you will see yourself always a failure. Decide to be your best and do your best. If you will do this by God's help, you will not fail.
Use Wisely What You Have.
Israel was oppressed. The Philistines had taken the Israelites' swords and spears, in fact, swept the country bare of armor. Shamgar had not much to fight with. He had no sword nor spear, no shield, no helmet. The Philistines were coming; something must be done. There was the ox-goad, but what would that amount to against swords and spears? It was all the weapon he had. But he had something else; he had courage, determination, and faith. So he started straight for the host of enemies, and we are told that he slew "six hundred men with an ox-goad: and he also delivered Israel" (Judges 3: 31). He had only an ox-goad, but he used it manfully. Had he not done so, Israel would not have been delivered.
David, when he went against Goliath, had only his home-made sling and a few stones from the brook. But he went up to battle with unshaken faith in God. He had not much to start with in the way of weapons, but he had the courage to use what he did have. And he is famous to this day as Israel's deliverer.
Samson had only a jaw-bone, but he did not stop a moment to lament that fact. He did have the three things necessary in himself -- courage, determination, and faith. And we are told that the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him. The result was he slew a thousand of his enemies, and put the rest to flight. Have you not as much equipment as any of these men had? But the results of their efforts were glorious. If you think you have but little to use for God, just add to it courage, determination, and faith, and go ahead. You will find that the Spirit of the Lord will make you mighty. Do not worry because you have so little to give; just be sure you give what you can. Do not worry because you seem to have so little ability, or so little time, or so little opportunity; but do not fail to use what you have. Make the best of them.
Use Your Environment.
It is of no use to say, "If my surroundings were different," or "If I were in some other place, then I could do better." Possibly you could, but that is not the question. Are you doing what you can in your present environment? If you can change your environment for the better, do it. If you can not, then decide to do your best where you are.
You may dream of ideal conditions, but you will not find them in this world. Whether you succeed or fail depends less on your environment than it does on yourself. If you will be true to the best that is in you, your environment will not have the influence that you imagine it will. Favorable circumstances never take the place of soul-qualities. Develop your soul-qualities, and you will be master of your environment. You need not let it master you. Be your best, and do your best, in your place. Make the best of your situation. There is a way for you to succeed, no matter what is against you. God will help you find that way if you are determined to find it. Never permit yourself to spend time in lamentation over yourself or your circumstances. Keep the following thought and determination ever before you: "I will make the best of myself and my circumstances." This is the true and only road to success.