Back in the summer of 1994, my father taught me a most valuable lesson. One that would serve both as a guide throughout the course of my life, and as a grid, that all future ideas would have to pass through before being accepted. I was 13 years old, and was receiving a lamp of moral stability, a light unto my path. My soul would never be the same. Early one morning, we were driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, when I noticed a book that he’d been reading on the dash of his truck. The Complete Verse by Rudyard Kipling. We talked about the book, the author, and some of his notable works. He suggested to me, that when I had some time alone, I should read a specific poem called ” If “. He said it was his favorite.
We arrived at our destination, a somewhat remote coastal town. I was waiting for him in the truck, on a quiet street, staring out at the marine layer descending upon the beach. I opened the book, and the following words are what I encountered.
” If you can keep your head when all about you;
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make a heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! “
In awe of what I had just read, I looked up and noticed rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds, shining down upon the chaos of the sea. The fog began to clear, and a place where the ocean meets the sky became visible. I heard my fathers voice as he came walking back to the truck, saying thank you to the person he had just agreed to do business with. I knew something special had just happened. I admired my father so much.
Ever since that day, I have tried with all my heart to be the man in the poem. To achieve the moral stability that was so eloquently described. To be a shining example of integrity, and a role model to the little people that I love. I’ve discovered that it’s so very difficult. In fact, at times it seems impossible. I am not ashamed to say that my only hope is Jesus Christ.
There is only one man in the history of the world, who could ever live up to such a standard of moral stability, and his name is Jesus Christ Of Nazareth, The Son Of The Living God. Through faith in Christ alone, we discover the strength that is required to withstand the temptations of moral compromise, and become the men and women God has called us to be.
There are times in our lives when all is well, and there are times when we’ll be faced with a great many challenges. There are times when you’ll feel like your on top of the world, and there are times when you’ll feel like the whole world is crashing down upon you. Through it all, and through the grace God offers us in Jesus Christ, be ready in season, and out. Be a man for all seasons !
I leave you with The Parable Of The Two Builders.
In Matthew 7.24 – 27, Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
In His Service – Junior Reid