In the last couple of weeks, literally every nation of the planet is mourning the passing away of Nelson Mandela.
Why is he so important that he is on the front cover of every magazine on earth? TV stations are dedicating hours and days of speaking about his life. His greatness was the spirit in which he overcame challenges. He had a motivation, he was motivated by compassion—people were being beaten down, prejudiced against, and he felt for them. And in a spirit of his devotion to God, he wanted to make a difference. He wouldn’t give up; he was imprisoned for 27 years, often times in inhuman conditions, torturous conditions, deprived; it seemed hopeless; hardly a person in the world cared or even acknowledged his existence in prison. But the flame of his determination to do something wonderful kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And when he came out of his prison he forgave all of the people that tortured him and wanted to work together with them to build a nation. He became the president of that nation and didn’t punish his persecutors, but honoured them and worked with them.
It was that ability to meet challenges with the determination based on goodness and compassion that has endeared him to all of humanity. A living example, and that was based on his particular kind of devotion to God.