[“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 8 vs.36)]
Good intention is as bad of as lack of it. Show me one act of kindness, and it will suffice. Put in another man’s words, “The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention”. No word is as vague and empty as the phrase, “I intend to…” Intention is like a wish, but we all know that, “If wishes were horses, beggars too will ride”. Walt Kelly says. “It’s not good enough for things to be planned – they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation”. Not until the intention is converted to an action, however good it is, it is still an intention.
For the America National Football League (NFL) players, in spite of the accompanying penalty, the act of unnecessary roughness can be a lifesaving and a goal-oriented scheme. But when it comes to the proven principles and issues of life, the penalty for not going by the rules can be horrendous. “Drinking acid, thinks it is water is an unforgivable act” (anon).
The thief and the abettor are birds of the same feather- they are not different in any way. Likewise, the alcoholic and the man who pay for it are two sides of the same coin – they are in the same shoe. If you do not feel disgusted at the sight of indecency, you are likely in the same train with them. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers” (Psalm 1 vs. 1). Good observers said, “The world best sermon is preached by the road sign: keep right”.
Which will you rather have, a big house or a good home? A big house is never equal to a good home. More than likely, you find tall men, but men with short tempers in a big house. Grouchy, intolerant, and nagging women are not likely going to occupy a good home either. The book of proverbs 22 vs. 1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold”. “When what she really wants is time to talk – sending flowers will not make up for it. When the man actually needs a home-cooked meal – a hug is not the answer” (Gary Chapman).
In our pursuit to become recognized in the society, we multiply possessions while our values are greatly reduced. Derogating virtues and elevating vices is a cancer to the society. The issue of morality remains the same across generations. In our quest to finding independence, and also in our effort to letting our children be who they are, it should be made clear that the subject of morality remains the same for them as it is for us. Among other things bequeathed on our children, good virtues should be more emphasized. Of what use is it if the youngster ends up being a fugitive or a vagabond? Consider this as a rhetoric question, “If you don’t have time to do it right, and right now, when will you have time to do it right over”? (Anon).
Unlike any other generations, we have been to the moon back and forth on several occasions. As well, this generation has literally taken a walk in the star. However, often we find it difficult to say ‘hi’ to our neighbors living across the street. The Chinese says, “Anyone can buy a house, but good neighbors are priceless”. A good neighbor quote puts it this way, “When your acquaintances are thousands of miles away, your neighbor remains the closest associate”. Money can buy a sleeping bed, but it cannot buy sleep; it can pay hospital bills, but it cannot buy good health. Why then do we run after money as though it is the most important thing?
Often, we live in poverty in the land of plenty. We have many people around us, and yet we feel lonely. The late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple computer Inc. said, “The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a worldwide communication network”. But, most of our intimate relationships lack communication.
Opportunity for greatness abounds, and yet we do not recognize it – probably because “It’s dressed in overall and looks like work”, according to Thomas Edison. The most chronic illnesses thrive in the land where we have the top physicians. Wretchedness in the land of the greatest philanthropists is not uncharacteristic!
Dale Carnegie advises, “Do not fire the employee who made mistakes 10 times only to hire another person”. “As long as it’s not the same set of mistake”, he said, “He has only learnt 10 times of how not to do it wrong.” Remember what the elders say, “New brooms may sweep clean, but only the old broom knows the corners”. “Keep your mind open to ideas, as long as they are not the same old ones” (John Mason).
The story of TJ will help substantiate our subject of discussion. TJ was a son of a very rich father. But his father was someone who imbibed the principles of the Bible to the core. Unlike his father, TJ wanted to have things his own way, and still have full access to the things of his father. But his father would have none of such – his intention was to bring up his son in the best possible moralistic standard.
The elders say, “The sheep that made a companion of dogs will certainly eat human feces”. TJ -like the prodigal son- lived a rebellious and meager life against the wish of his father. He was not interested in going to college and was also not interested in learning a trade either. On every occasion, he made a request to his father to set up a business empire for him, so that he could be as rich as his father.
“A wise father knows his child, but a foolish son does not take time to know his father”, says the aged. TJ’s father was more than willing to honor his son’s request. He made provision for all that was needed for his son to be like him. Any man can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad. A wise Dad also knows that, “If a child is given enough rope, he will hang himself”.
What TJ’s father did each time the request was made by his son was to present him a Bible. But TJ would rather live a lowly and wretched live than to take the Bible from his father. In his final will, TJ’s father had made it clear that the only conditions given to TJ concerning his inheritance was for him to pick up the Bible that he had rejected over the years. TJ had waited too long for the demise of his father, but when the old man finally passed on, it was more than gladness for TJ to come home with the hope of controlling his father business empire.
“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong” (Charles Wadsworth). To his disappointment, on arrival TJ learnt that he had no access to his father’s inheritance. With a troubled mind, he searched furiously through his father’s papers until he found the little Bible that his father used to present to him. Unwillingly, he grabbed and opened it, only to discover a copy of the living-will inside the Bible. The most pathetic aspect was to know that the living-will was dated as far back as when the Bible was first presented to him. The living-will states that he should take over the business empire the very first day his request was made!
This one too might interest someone. It was about a man who lived as a pauper when he could have lived in luxury. An elderly lady once left a $20,000 inside the Bible and gave it to him. He simply collects it and drop it on the shelf. From there, he headed for Las Vegas. Soon his money was gone, he lived the next 60 years as a pauper, scraping for every meal and barely having clothes to cover his body. As he was moving to a convalescent home, he reached to grab that old Bible, thinking it might be of use at that point of his life. As he did, the Bible accidentally fell to the floor and opened, revealing $100 bills between every other page.
Anxiety is a killer, do not be trapped into it. Jesus asked, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his life? What you worried about yesterday is most likely no longer in vogue today. The coolest way to be uncertain is to own two clocks. Do not shoulder your troubles all by yourself when you have those who are willing to help you. “Perhaps, what you are looking for in the upper shelf is staring at you in the lower shelf” (African proverb).
The ultimate question was asked by Jesus Christ when he said, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loose his soul” (Matthew 16 vs. 26).