Weekly Thought – January 2, 2024
Fred grew up with limited financial resources. Unable to attend college, he often joked about his only time on campus was when he was invited to address the student body. Often he was asked to be the commencement speaker and received two honorary doctorates. This week we excerpt one of these addresses.
Editor’s Note: The Weekly Thought for December 19th featured an illustration given to Fred by his long time friend Ben Haden, television host, author, and pastor. Apparently, autocorrect decided Ben’s surname needed a “y” making it Hayden. Apologies to the many friends who pointed out the additional letter.
I would like to talk about a few heart qualities.
The difference in you today and yesterday is that you have now assumed the responsibility to be your own teacher. Plato said if the teachers have done their job correctly they have awakened in the student a teacher enabling the person to live being both student and teacher. My friend Jack Modesett said that his life changed as a sophomore at Princeton when he found the joy of learning. He graduated magna cum laude and now lives magna cum laude because he is both teacher and student.
Let me give you two qualities of an educated heart.
1) A taste for the full life
Professor William James referred to it as “thickness,” meaning that life has a full dimension. It is more than surface level. Christ described this as “the abundant life.” The Menninger Clinic in studying mature individuals said that one of the traits is a life which exhibits a confluence of stimulation from a variety of sources. They are more than uni-dimensional.
I see individuals whose function has taken over their personhood. We get our strokes from our function, but our joy from our being. It is possible that a preacher or missionary or ministry leader can become a function just as easily as an executive, professional, or athlete. They are no longer fully orbed.
2) The love of truth
We live in a fantasy world created by media, advertising, political propaganda – even religious propaganda. Their primary aim is not always dealing in truth. After becoming President of Notre Dame University, Father Hesburgh was given three rules which guided Father Cavanaugh, his predecessor. The three were: “be right – be human – be humble.” When David Rockefeller asked Father Hesburgh to join the board of Chase Manhattan Bank, he laughed and said, “I am a priest. I have never even had a personal bank account and now you ask me to be a director of this prestigious financial institution.” David Rockefeller replied, “Father Hesburgh, if we don’t know how to run a bank we shouldn’t be here. What we need is somebody skilled in knowing what is morally right. You have your education in philosophy and theology and we want you to help us know what is right.” Father Hesburgh said that sometimes during the board meetings when they got into an ethical discussion Mr. Rockefeller would turn to him and say, “Father, tell us what is right.” Then without thinking about profitability, political astuteness, or popular acclaim, I tried to tell them what was morally right.
This week carefully consider: 1) What do I use as the standard for truth and morality? 2) Who helps me stay on track? 3) How can my faith make a difference in my decisions?
Words of Wisdom: “We get our strokes from our function, but our joy from our being.”
Wisdom from the Word: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NET Bible)