When we consider the life of a notable man or woman we often fail to consider the role of energy in his or her accomplishments. Some individuals have an overabundance of that life force that we call energy. Others are deficient.
I am painfully aware of these energy differences. I was married to a supercharged woman. In her younger days she was absolutely amazing in her ability to work past exhaustion and get things done. I looked on in awe. Compared to my wife, I was an absolute wimp when it came to hard work. On many occasions I confessed to my dear Ann that she could work me under the table any day of the week. It was not a choice on my part. It was just the way things were.
That reminds me of a brief conversation with a granddaughter. I asked her what was her favorite class in school. Quick came her answer, “Recess.”
In the same way, if someone asked me what was my favorite activity I would have responded, “Relaxation.”
An evaluation of a person’s energy quotient is an important factor in choosing someone for a particular position. At some point I read that the German General Staff evaluated officers and divided them into four categories: brilliant and energetic, brilliant and lazy, stupid and energetic, stupid and lazy. At all costs, they endeavored to avoid the stupid and energetic officer. He could do an incredible amount of harm.
As we examine some of the great figures of history, we can see some instances of almost unbelievable human energy:
- Alexander the Great succeeded hid father as King of Macedonia at the age of twenty. In the short span of thirteen years he led his Greek-Macedonian armies in the conquest of the vast Persian Empire, and he drove deep into India before his homesick troops persuaded him to turn toward home. This military genius was planning even further campaigns when he died at the age of 33.
- Paul the Apostle travelled over much of the Roman world spreading the gospel of Christ. He wrote much of the New Testament, and he suffered beatings, shipwreck, and imprisonment even as he established churches in Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. He was indefatigable in his work, and eventually he was martyred for his faith.
- John Wesley was a great preacher in 18th century England. He gave thousands of sermons, and he travelled by coach and horseback all over the Great Britain and Ireland, reaching out to those who were often neglected by the established church. In his eighties, he complained that he could no longer rise in the wee hours as he once had, and he was finding it more difficult to travel by horseback to remote places to preach.
- Napoleon Bonaparte was a truly energetic genius, and he revolutionized the art of war in his times. He also put his mark on the future of France through enactment of the Napoleonic Code and various civil reforms. His symbol was the bee, representing ceaseless work. Unfortunately, along with his genius and his energy, Napoleon had an inordinate amount of ambition, and it eventually led him to destruction.
- Theodore Roosevelt was a human dynamo. After visiting with President Roosevelt, an Englishman remarked, “the two most wonderful things I have seen in your country are Niagara Falls and the President of the United States, both great wonders of nature!”
Yes, human energy is very important. With the proper application of energy, great things can be accomplished. Contrariwise, energy applied for evil purposes can do incalculable damage. President Donald Trump has shown that he is a man with great energy. That pleases his supporters and frightens his enemies. At this moment in history, who knows whether his superabundant energy will have a positive or negative effect on our future?
I pray that we all use our God given talents and energy for honorable ends.