Weekly Thought – February 7, 2023
Fred curated ideas, words, and wisdom for the benefit of others, as well as his own personal growth. When talking with him he pulled from his vast memory, pulling out the right story, illustration, or quote to perfectly suit the conversation. Many people came to see him equipped with pad and paper knowing there would be helpful “Fred Saids.”
Just before Mary Alice and I left for a Colorado summer a young man called wanting to come by the office. He had lost everything (about 20 million in 1990 dollars). I walked over to my wall, pulled down a plaque and handed it to him. “The man who kneels before God can stand up to anything.” The backstory is as helpful as those eleven words.
A good friend was an old school oil man. His wife lovingly called him D.H. for Dry Hole as he carried a reputation for a record string of unproductive drills. One night with them he was bemoaning another one when his wife came to the dinner table with the plaque bearing those words. She prefaced it with, “Just move over and drill again.” Her down to earth encouragement on this plaque hung on my office wall to remind me, as well. That day, the young man needed the words so I passed them on.
I met a bright young high achiever when he was in college. He was named Outstanding Young Man by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce, rose in his career like riding on a rocket, and saw year after year of success. Now he sat in my office having filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We talked and as I heard him talk about the situation I listened. At the appropriate time I gave him one of my favorite quotes for troubled times – one I had used myself in those episodes of failure. “Only your plans have failed; you have not.”
“Fred, I needed that. Would you repeat it for me?” I did so as he wrote it down. “Thanks, this was the right time for you to say that to me.”
In Colorado we stayed with friends high in the mountains. Each morning as I stood outside I thought about these and other young men I knew who were climbing mountains. Then I began considering the pitons which the climbers use, driving into crevices to loop their ropes and create a hand hold. The words I shared with them might be classified as cliches, but I prefer to see them as pitons for the climb.
When I was 19 or 20 a traveling evangelist gave me his paraphrase of Proverbs 18:16: “Take the gift that God has given you, and use it. You will stand before great men.” Many times it became a piton for my climb. One of my daughters lettered this for me and it now hangs on my office wall to give me a hand hold for my rope.
This week carefully consider: 1) What words have I been given to strengthen in troubled times? 2) What words have I shared with others to encourage them? 3) How can scripture assist me in my climb?
Words of Wisdom: “Only your plans have failed; you have not.”
Wisdom from the Word: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 NET Bible)