Weekly Thought – January 5, 2021
Fred believed in fundamentals. He “took a dim view (in his words) of those who veered away from principles and covered up with fancy philosophies.” His great friend Ed Yates stepped from earth into heaven days ago. Theirs was a friendship based on common faith, trust, and love of truth. In Fred’s last four years of life he was bed bound. One of his joys was spending time with Ed. One of Ed’s joys was trying out new recipes and presenting them to Fred. On one occasion he proudly delivered a grapefruit pie. Skeptically, Fred received it, but not before Ed could say, “Fred, look at it this way… put enough whipped cream on anything and it will taste good.” Neither of those men lived covering up with heaping whipped toppings… they were the real deal.
(Editorial note: this content is excerpted from Sunday School lessons given to the Elliott class of Highland Park Presbyterian Church in the mid 1980s. The application is timeless).
2021 will begin a new curriculum development for BWFLI, focused on Fred’s unpublished manuscript covering his thoughts on perseverance. This will be offered to our schools on a Zoom format, featuring BWFLI team members facilitating discussion with students. Please pray for the clear direction of this project.
Coming Back To Fundamentals
These are troubled times. Troubles bring us back to fundamentals. Coaches suffering losses take the teams right back to the beginning. For example, Vince Lombardi is famous for gathering his team and beginning with “Gentlemen, THIS is a football.”
Perseverance is one of the essential fundamentals. When everything is smooth we don’t analyze our good fortunes, but when things turn down, we desire to know why. Trouble opens our minds.
Thinking about the basics is like a pit stop where we go for fuel and new tires. Some of us have been on a fast, hard, troubled track. We are low on fuel and running thin on rubber. It is time to stop for the tank to be filled and the tires to be replaced. Then we can be off again, We don’t quit the checkered flag is still in view, but we can’t make it without fundamental resources.
J.C. Penney believed “self-denial is the basic requirement for accomplishment in any field of endeavor. Success comes only to those who will follow the hard road, rather than the path of ease and pleasure, and who are willing to sacrifice everything except honor to the god of achievement.” A basic is that overnight success only happens in the movies.
The poet/composer Rod McKuen says “Talent is never enough in any field. It must be coupled with perseverance and recognition.”
Calvin Coolidge said something good about perseverance: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence; talent will not, for nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not, for unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not, for the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
It is one of the verities that “effort varies more than talent.” People who lose their tenacity generally lose their position in life. However, the road is open to those who persevere. As we are told in Job 14:19 “the waters wear away the stone.” As a boy, Isadore of Seville found his lessons too hard to learn. He ran away from school where he was doing poorly and sat down to rest beside a little spring that trickled over a rock. He was amazed to see how those little drops had worn away a large stone. He decided, then and there, that he had given up on his studies too soon. Diligent application overcame his dullness and he became one of the finest scholars of his day. His biographer said, “Those drops of water gave to Spain a brilliant historian.
Persistence is essential to success and we don’t know how much we have until we are called on to test our strength. Perseverance forms the bedrock of the basics needed for maturity.
This week think about: 1) How can I construct a system to test my fundamentals? 2) During this time what challenges my perseverance most greatly? 3) Who can benefit from these thoughts?
Words of Wisdom: “Trouble opens our minds.”
Wisdom from the Word: “As a result we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions you are enduring.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4 NET Bible)