James 4:10 (NIV)
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Those that draw nigh to God in a way of duty shall find God drawing nigh to them in a way of mercy. Draw nigh to him in faith, and trust, and obedience, and he will draw nigh to you for your deliverance. If there be not a close communion between God and us, it is our fault, and not his. He shall lift up the humble. [Matthew Henry]

In the 1840s a court case based in Chicago captured the attention of the entire nation. Labeled "The Reaper Case," it centered on the patenting of farm equipment invented by Cyrus McCormick. At the time the case had such high-stakes that legal rock stars from the East Coast trekked to the Midwest to take on the case. But since the judge was from Illinois, these Ivy League trained lawyers decided to add a local lawyer to their legal team. So after working their networks, they found an obscure, small town lawyer to join their high-powered team.

When the high-powered, sophisticated Ivy League lawyers met their new teammate, they were stunned. He was poorly dressed and disheveled. He spoke with a strong small town accent and used folksy vernacular phrases. In short, he was a country bumpkin. One of the team's leading lawyers, a man named Edwin Stanton, said in this small town lawyer's presence, "Let's do away with this ape." Then they did what any immature men would do. They ditched him. They would have meals without him. They would tell him different times for the court case to be tried, and then they would get there earlier and the court case would be going on. They viewed him as someone of very significant insignificance.

Stanton won the case. He went on to become one of the leading lights in the American legal profession and politics. As a matter of fact, he became the Secretary of War during the Civil War. But much to his shock he went to work for the one he called "ape." It was Abraham Lincoln, whose incredible significance was not known until the very last years of his life.

[Stewart Ruch III, Sermon "When Small Is Great," PreachingToday.com]