Thursday, January 25, 2007

Trying to do a Bit Better

“The year was 1891. The student named ‘Bill’ had such a sharp tongue and large chip on the shoulder that he was called ‘Bill the Cynic.” He wrote to a friend he had cut with his lashing tongue: ‘I know I am hard, proud, conceited, scornful, bitter… and insulting very often, and always selfish; but I don’t like you to treat me as though I wasn’t trying to do a bit better.’

‘Bill the Cynic’ is known to history as Edward ‘Bill’ Wilson, who in 1911 accompanied Robert Scott to the Antarctic and to death. While stranded in snow and storm, awaiting their death, Scott wrote of Wilson: ‘If this letter reaches you, Bill and I will have gone out together. We are very near it now; and I should like you to know how splendid he was at the end, everlastingly cheerful and ready to sacrifice himself for others.” The expedition team called him ‘Bill the Peacemaker.’

Wilson’s trying paid off, from ‘Bill the Cynic’ to ‘Bill the Peacemaker.’ He learned and changed. We need to keep learning, and keep ‘trying to do a bit better.’ It takes time. But it takes.”

Story quoted from Summoned to Lead by Leonard Sweet, Zondervan 2004

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