The poem ‘Opportunity’ by Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887) has been memorized and recited now by two of my sons – first by Solomon a few years ago for a 4H Speech & Demo Day in Sidney, Montana; second by Daniel last Fall for a more private gathering of homeschooling families here in Greeley, Colorado.
Published in 1880, the Colorado city which would eventually be renamed after Horace Greeley was a mere 11-years-old when Sill wrote about the king’s son picking up the blunt thing the craven had tossed away.
“Go West, young man” was the admonition of Horace Greeley, and it was fitting that this city would be named after a man who offered such encouragements in print to people in the East.
The fuller remarks concerning westward expansion and Manifest Destiny included more fully the following compare and contrast.
“Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.”
This morning, I woke up to a comment on YouTube from some scoffer who might as well be anonymous that it is so cliché that I have seven children and live in Greeley.
The specific video this remark was left on was my reaction to the second Trump Team mid-term campaign ad. It would be all the more fitting if the one who is mocking me there is from Washington, D.C. I almost hope that is the case.
Yet undeterred, I want to think more deeply about opportunity – what it looks like, where it can be found, and what to do with it. And all the more, not less, remember that sometimes cravens and cowards lurk around the battle edges and fling away whatever they think unworthy.
As often as not, those things flung away end up being used by the good Lord to win great battles.
As 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 says,
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
In whatever locale or circumstance we find ourselves, we do well to meditate on such things, and live accordingly, in humility and confidence and by God’s grace.
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