Tag Archives: Bill Hewlett

Pay A Compliment to God

Story of the Day for Saturday January 28, 2012

Pay a Compliment to God

              Let us boldly approach the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find gracious help in our time of need. 

                                                      Hebrews 4:16


In the 1960s the Hewlett-Packard company was known world-wide for its innovation in electronics.

One night one of the company founders, Bill Hewlett, got a phone call at his home in Palo Alto. An 8th grader was working on a school project and asked Mr. Hewlett if he could have some spare parts to build a frequency counter.

Bill Hewlett not only talked to this young man for twenty minutes, but personally gathered the requested parts. And to top it off, he offered the student a summer job working in the Hewlett-Packard department that assembled frequency counters.

That student, who had the audacity to phone one of the titans of the electronics industry, was Steve Jobs — one of the founders of Apple computers. Jobs often reflected on that day when he called the legendary Bill Hewlett. Steve Jobs was obviously brilliant, but prefers to attribute his astonishing success to his boldness in asking others for what he needed. Most people, he observed, would never pick up the phone.


To make requests of famous and influential people seems presumptuous. Who do we think we are, anyway? Most of us feel unworthy to ask things of great people. And we have it exactly right: we are unworthy.

But focusing on who we are misses the point. The question is not whether we deserve the attention of influential people, but whether those influential people are willing to give us of their time.

This issue of unworthiness can seep into our attitude about prayer. Have you ever failed to ask God for great things because you felt you didn’t deserve to make such an audacious request of the almighty God?

If we only ask the Lord for the things we deserve, we will ask him for nothing.


But all this misses the point of prayer. God invites us to boldly ask for the moon. Our prayers should never be based on our worthiness, but on God’s wild generosity.


In the sixteenth century, Sir Walter Raleigh was a frequent visitor in the Royal Court of England. He made numerous requests to Queen Elizabeth.

Once, after approaching her Majesty with yet one more request — this one on behalf of a friend — the Queen sighed in exasperation.

“When, Sir Walter, will you cease to be a beggar?”

Raleigh quickly replied, “When your gracious Majesty ceases to be a benefactor.”


St. Theresa of Avila had it right when she said, “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of him.”

                                                   (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)