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On Being a Somebody


Last updated 1/10/2021 at 11:37am

Wade B. Jakeway

According to the philosopher, John Dewey, the primary drive in every man's life, without exception, is the desire to be somebody.

Take John Dillinger for example. He was once America's public enemy number one. On the loose, one night in a rural Wisconsin area the notorious gangster suddenly appeared in the living room of an elderly couple. Sensing their benumbed terror, he spoke reassuringly, "I'm not here to hurt you; I just want you to know I'm John Dillinger."

By contrast, few people have ever been driven so relentlessly to serve their generation as John Wesley, who declared, "The world is my parish."

I have seen his portable writing desk, which was ingeniously carved to fit the contour of his horse's back, so that he could study and write while traveling across England, preaching 40,000 sermons and recruiting thousands of souls for the Kingdom of God.

Even a Wesley turns out to be an illustration of Dewey's principal, except that he became somebody, while the chiselers of this world, along with the negative thinkers, the indolent, and the selfish, become nobodies.

If we seriously desire to be a somebody, we must deliberately select basic goals, in the light of which we carry out all of life's operations. Setting overall goals is like a skipper setting the sails of his boat, so that regardless of which way the winds blow, the craft moves forward in a single direction.

Distilled to its irreducible essence, the choice before us is the question of which master we will serve – whether reason on the one hand, or desire-and-emotion on the other. Admittedly, reason is a disturbing, exacting taskmaster, mercilessly reigning us in when we would betray our best convictions, thereby ennobling the will.

But emotion is a tyrant that emasculates the will, reducing men to utter impotence in its devastating clutch. To this fact Jesus adds further emphasis: "No man can serve two masters; ye cannot serve both God and mammon!"

Depending upon which option we do elect, we become either a somebody or a nobody.

Wade B. Jakeway, an educator, preacher, artist and poet began working at Warner Southern College, now Warner University, in 1971. He was an associate professor of philosophy, history and political science. He previously was a full-time evangelist in most of the states and several countries, conducting more than 500 series of evangelistic campaigns, in addition to holding pastorates in California and Ohio. He died in October, 2013, leaving behind his wife, Betty, and son, Ron. Jakeway was a prolific writer, and we are pleased his family is allowing us to publish some of the essays from his book, "Over the Cracker Barrel."


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