Never Alone

You Could Have Been Great

I admit – I have odd taste in movies. You may remember some of my favorites: Secondhand Lions (2003) which critics called “A wholesome but schmaltzy movie;” Radio (2003) starring Cuba Gooding Jr, based on a true story; and The Kid, starring Bruce Willis. They all have one theme in common – redemption. The critics called The Kid “too sweet and the movie’s message to be annoyingly simplistic.” Personally, I find the critics to be annoying.

The message of The Kid brings the hope of new beginnings. Bruce Willis plays Russ Duritz, a successful but selfish image consultant who gets a second shot at life when an eight-year-old version of himself mysteriously appears. The eight-year-old Russ reminds him of his childhood dreams of marriage, flying planes, and owning his own dog. Before his 40th birthday, Russ finds that money and power have betrayed him in a crisis of emptiness.

Russ’s redemption begins when his girlfriend, Amy (played by Emily Mortimer), hears the dreams of eight-year-old Russ, turns to his adult version and says, “you know what the saddest thing of all is? You could’ve been great.” These words have rung in my ears for 15 years now.

In the Old Testament there were none more successful than the handsome and fearless King David.* As God’s chosen leader, he had anything he desired and commanded all he surveyed. Power, fame, influence, women, feasting and servants. He had everything. Everything except the forbidden fruit. Her name was Bathsheba, and wanting her drove David mad. He even went to the extreme measure of having an honorable soldier murdered rather than admitting responsibility for the baby he fathered with Bathsheba. He had it all, but obeyed his lust to his own harm. Even his own handsome son, Absalom, died having led a rebellion against his father’s throne. David’s sorrow was so great that he wept and cried out “Would I have died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”* In exchange for a moment of earthly pleasure, the consequences for David’s sin were directly suffered by his children.

I’ve known many men who had great potential for serving the King, who were gifted for great impact but settled for making fleshly desires their god. You know what the saddest thing of all is? They could’ve been great. They were chosen and gifted, but couldn’t resist the forbidden fruit. And how about the men I’ve known who destroyed their marriages rather than deny themselves? The saddest thing? They could’ve been great.

Has forbidden fruit caught your eye? King David will testify; it’s not worth the price we pay. A somber warning of the inevitability of the consequences of our choices. Redemption, however, is right on the other side of broken-hearted repentance. Read Psalm 51 to discover God’s path of redemption. Read this and walk in humble obedience, or prepare to hear, “You know what the saddest thing of all is? You could have been great.”

Pastor Steve
*Begin story with II Samuel 5

*II Samuel 18:38

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