Talk Is Cheap

It is said that, after the Civil War had ended, someone asked Ulysses S. Grant to offer an evaluation of his fellow general, George B. McClellan. Grant replied, “McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war.”
Most historians are baffled by McClellan. The grandson of a Revolutionary War general, and second in his class at West Point, he had the makings of a great leader. In the early years of his career, he demonstrated considerable organizational skills. He was selected to serve as an observer of the European armies in the Crimean War. He had extensive knowledge of troop organization, and was successful in civilian work for two different railroads. When the Civil War broke out, McClellan was highly sought after. He was eventually selected by President Lincoln to form the Army of the Potomac and to serve as its general-in-chief.
But despite his skill in forming an army, McClellan was unable to achieve victory. On many infamous occasions, he failed to use the North’s considerable numeric advantage to bring a quick end to the South’s rebellion. He consistently overestimated the strength of his opponents, and thus was hesitant rather than decisive. It is widely held that McClellan’s failure to act resulted in a much longer conflict and considerably more deaths for both sides.
Lincoln eventually removed McClellan of his command, but not before he famously exclaimed, “If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.”
As we continue to dwell on our theme for this year, we’ll find that the same thing is expected of us. We are called to take action. “Building on the Rock” is what happens when we hear the words of and put them in to practice.
McClellan had the pedigree, the skill and the intelligence to be a great leader. But none of it was helpful, because he failed to put it all to use. We may have all the spiritual gifts in the world. They will not help us if we fail to act. This morning, I hope we can all take seriously God’s call to express our faith through action.

Robert Lee