HOW HIGH ARE YOUR VALLEYS?
by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 30 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)
"He is always able to rise to the occasion." How typical this is of our finite minds' estimation of success. We judge one by the height of his peaks, when the simple truth is that one of the tests of real character is the height of one's depth. It is not how high the mountain top, but how high the valley that counts. The valley of a mountain range may have higher elevation than the top of a mountain somewhere else; consequently, it matters not how high the peak is, but rather how high the valley is. Raise your valleys and your peaks will care for themselves.
It is not how high one can go, but how low he can keep from going. A person is as moral as his most immoral day. He is as efficient as his most inefficient day. He is as deep as his most shallow day. One can be morally clean 364 days a year and yet be an adulterer. One can refrain from robbing banks 364 days a year and yet be a bank robber. One can resist murder 364 days a year and yet be a murderer. It is tremendously important that in one's character he raise the height of his depths, the peak of his valleys, and that he not only "rise to meet the occasion," but refuse to "lower to meet the occasion."
There are many preachers who on a given day, with a big enough crowd, and enough inspiration, can preach great messages. However, the test of a great preacher is not on Easter Sunday, but on Labor Day weekend. The great preacher is the one who gives his best to his people week after week and is the best preacher on his lowest day. The best worker is the one who does his job every day. His inspiration comes from within and is a part of the subconscious.
At this writing Cindy, my youngest child, is eight years of age. She has been afraid of storms all her life. Oftentimes even a cloudy day will bring tears to her eyes. A few days ago Cindy wrote a little article concerning her fear of storms. She brought it to me. She had written something like this: "I, Cindy Lynn Hyles, do on this 23rd day of June, 1968, quit being afraid of storms. I know that God will take care of me, for He promises to do so. He took care of Daniel in the lion's den; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace; and He will take care of me. Because of this, I will not be afraid of storms any more . . ."
The article was much longer than that, but all of it was just as well written and serious minded. In less than two hours the worst storm that we had had in weeks was raging. I looked at Cindy, and she was as sober as she could be. I grinned and said, "Are you the little girl that wrote an article a while ago?"
With trembling lips and moist eyes she said, "Yes, sir."
I hugged her and said, "It is a lot easier to promise than it is to fulfill the promise."
It is one thing for a person to vow to do his job well; it is another thing for him to develop the kind of character that subconsciously forces him to do the job well. The doing of right must get on the inside. This means that we will subconsciously do a job well even at our lowest point.
Let us work on the valleys and let the peaks care for themselves. Certainly the peaks are more inspiring. Certainly it is easier to do the job well at the peak, but the ones who will be remembered the longest and will accomplish the most are those who do the unspectacular jobs well when uninspired from without, but subconsciously inspired from within with the kind of character that is more concerned about raising the height of the valleys than raising the height of the mountains.
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“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion,
warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Billy SUNDAY