Archive | June 2010

No One Remembered!

In a commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:15, Martin Luther cites the story of Themistocles, the soldier and statesman who commanded the Athenian squadron. Through his strategy, he won the Battle of Salamis, drove the Persian army from Greek soil, and saved his city. A few years later, he fell out of favor, was ostracized by his countrymen, and was banished from Athens. Thus, Luther concludes, “Themistocles did much good for his city, but received much ingratitude.”

The crowd, for some reason, seems to ignore or quickly forget the good that the poor and humble man accomplishes through his wisdom. No matter. “Wisdom is [still] better than strength” even if “the poor man’s wisdom is despised” (v.16). It’s better to be a quiet, honest sage who, though forgotten, leaves much good behind, than a swaggering, strident fool who, though many applaud him, “destroys much good” (v.18).

Accordingly, what matters in the end is not the recognition and gratitude we receive for the work we’ve done, but the souls of those gentle folk in whom we’ve sown the seeds of righteousness. Put another way: “Wisdom is justified by all her children” (Luke 7:35). Whom have you influenced through your wise and godly wisdom?


Help me to walk so close to Thee
That those who know me best can see
I live as godly as I pray,
And Christ is real from day to day. —Ryberg 
A wise person sets his earthly goals on heavenly gains.
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Don’t Be A Coward

Recently, I had a caller to my radio program – a 22 year old woman – who complained to me that she was anguished over the homecoming of her mother from a vacation.  It seems life is quite terrible for this woman with “Mommy dearest” around.
 
I asked her why, at 22 years old, she was still living with her mother when it was such a horrible experience.  Her answer was quick and to the point:  “I am a coward.”  I gently (yes, I can be gentle!) informed her that there is a price to everything, and the price for cowardice is anguish.  There’s no fix for that without moving past cowardice.
 

Life situations are largely out of our control, but the decisions we make and the steps we take for responsible action are in our control.  Cowardice (as my caller put it), however, is a major problem in a large number of people’s lives.  That’s why you hear people argue both sides of a situation when asked why they don’t speak up, take legal action, confront, and so on.  They’ll say: “Yeah, I know…,” and then cowardice takes over because they don’t want anyone mad, they don’t want to lose something (money, connection, etc.), and they don’t want to have the feeling of being alone.  Because of cowardice, they will tolerate abuse and put others (like children and spouses) in harm’s way.
The tell-tale signs of cowardice are the phrases “Yes, I know…,” and “But…,”  and “It’s not always so bad…,” and “But I’m not always so good either…,” and “Can’t they just go into therapy?,” and my favorite, “But what if….”
You get the picture.
 
Remember, ultimately, you are the architects of your own lives.  Cowardice wastes your precious time on earth.