Weekly Thought – February 4, 2020
Fred spoke with insight, wisdom, and elegance. His ability to think was a God-given gift which he treated as a stewardship. In January, 1981 he spoke to an unnamed group in Dallas. The entire speech is powerful, but too lengthy for these brief messages. We hope these snippets stimulate your thinking.
Recently I met an old and prosperous friend who wanted to relive earlier times. Once an active layman, he is now inactive. I asked him if he remembered the verse, “When it is day I long for the night and when it is night I long for the day.” He became quiet and then barely audible said, “Fred, that’s me.”
He needs to reorder his life. Like too many, when given the choice of filling the soul or the pocketbook… he grabbed the cash. His poor soul had been on a stringent diet.
A pastor friend told me of the large industrialist, who owned his town, but was seldom seen and never appeared in church. When he was near death he called the pastor and asked him to visit. “When I came to America I heard there was a pot of gold at the rainbow and I went in search of it. I found the gold, but lost the rainbow.”
In East Texas I first learned of pine beetles. I saw them on the trees and thought they were alive. They looked completely natural, but when I took a closer look, they were hollow. Often I have to remember how possible it is to become hollow while looking alive. The inside seems to go before the outside.
It isn’t easy to keep the inside renewed for sometimes life seems to be a lot of activity and very little being… too much slant and not enough balance. We use up the inside in maintaining the outside.
I truly wish I could help the many bored, frantic, angry, even violent and meaningless people who cross my path – people who need to laugh, to love unselfishly… those who need relief from a social life that has become rote and empty. I see executives whose business life is their only life. We live with family life fractured and scratchy… the home little more than a transfer station. Some of us have let our bodies become little more than clothes racks or display mannequins. We need to help each other on the constant internal renewal of spirit worthy of respect, attention, and affection.
Recently, the President of a large financial institution called “just to visit.” I enjoy those calls. As we talked, I sensed the pace was almost frenetic so I asked, “How are you keeping your head together?” “Work, work, work” was his answer. I highly value work, but there should also be the mystical awe of life.
Malcolm Muggeridge defines life as a mystery to be illuminated not a problem to be solved. When true awe disappears, life becomes boring and repetitive. In America (and particularly in Dallas) I fear we substitute acquisition and entertainment for genuine awe. As a poor kid in the slums of North Nashville I spent hours on the curb looking up at the stars – in genuine awe and amazement. I probably haven’t had many times with better feelings of the bigness of the world and its Creator.
Part of awe is gratitude. I have a dear atheist friend in the oil business who returned from an extremely successful venture in Australia. “Fred, one of the most frustrating aspects of being an atheist is having no God to thank when things go well and you know you are blessed beyond what you deserve. In those times it would be satisfying to have a God.”
Real meaning in life is filling the soul, finding the right perspective, and saying thank you.
This week carefully consider: 1) Have I sacrificed the rainbow for the pot of gold? 2) How healthy am I on the inside despite how good I look on the outside? 3) What triggers gratitude right now?
Words of Wisdom: “We use up the inside in maintaining the outside.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:8 NET Bible)