I tried to imagine what it must have been like to follow D.L. Moody in an evangelistic campaign or to step into the shoes of a successful entrepreneur like Steve Jobs at Apple. Think about the missionary that followed David Livingstone. I read about him recently in the little devotional book entitled From Generation to Generation.” Daniel Crawford had the difficult task of following in the steps of David Livingstone and served as a missionary to Angola and Zaire for 22 years. And here was the thing. Crawford didn’t have the imposing personality of his famous predecessor, so at the first he had trouble winning the loyalty of the tribal people. Even the people in his church back home weren’t sure he could carry on the work. He wrote a poem that was found years later in the front of his well-worn New Testament. Perhaps this little note explains more than anything else how he was able to accomplish his task under those circumstances.
I cannot do it alone! The waves dash fast and high; The fog comes chilling around, and the light goes out in the sky. But I know that we two shall win in the end—Jesus and I.
Coward, and wayward, and weak, I change with the changing sky, Today so strong and brave, Tomorrow too weak to fly; But He never gives in! So we two shall win–Jesus and I!
God worked in Crawford’s life and he learned how to present the Gospel and teach Biblical truth using illustrations from the native culture. And he just kept faithfully at that. The people responded and many were saved.
It was Peter that tells us the high value of a humble walk, even if it means to walk in the shadow of another. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”
The ultimate issue is not how I stack up to the large shadow cast by another, but whether I am willing to walk humbly where God put me faithfully using the gifts He gave me. After all, we are told by the Psalmist that if we dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we will abide in the shadow of the Almighty [Ps. 91:1] That is the shadow I should think most about! Think it thru!