God is First.
When I am getting it right, I am working so that I and my 7.5B fellow human beings all finish in a pack as a strong second to Him.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
People of faith will sometimes say, “I am second,” an appropriate recognition of their place in the universe as not being God. I once heard a speaker say, “There are 3 things I know about God: 1. There is one. 2. I am not God and 3. Neither are you.” As we often do here at Revolution 2.0™, we are taking a truth and adding another, related and important truth, in this case adding our responsibility to help everyone, here, there and everywhere, to be in a worldwide tie for that precious and valuable second place. You know, like in court, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
We will need to define how we decide who is ahead, behind or tied in that event we call life. In a footrace, we look for who crossed the finish line first; if it is a team game, the score settles that. Here it is a question of being lifelong learners who are growing in discipline, faith, love and contribution. All of us had different starts; what matters is what we did with the start that we were given.
Who’s in charge here? God is My Co-Pilot is a 1945 American black-and-white biographical war film from Warner Bros. Pictures. For a lot of us, that is the desired pairing; we set the goal, the desired landing place in this case, do the flying and navigating, and He is our co-pilot. That’s getting things backwards. God is the pilot, and with luck, if I am getting it right, I am His co-pilot. He is not my helper, or my prayer-driven celestial vending machine. I am not no. 1; He is.
Leaving God in the no. 1 position also includes the idea of playing to an Audience of One. That means when we think, speak and act, that we and those around us recognize that we are not no. 1. The focus is to please Him. Now wait, Will, what about our spouses, family, work, friends and all the other people? Don’t they count? What is wrong with making them a priority and serving God that way? Reasonable, even a great question. The problem is that there are too many temptations, too many ways to go wrong. They may be wanting the wrong things, and we may want to do things for them that are not right, but do them anyway to get them to like us and want to be with us. If we know that we are doing what is right in God’s eyes, despite how it may be perceived by others, there is no way that we can go wrong. And know that His approval validates everything.
Even if you struggle with the concept of a God to whom we are all subservient, the concept of needing a moral compass must ring true. Having a moral compass is a recurring theme for those of us at Revolution 2.0™. I refer to its importance frequently in my semi-weekly episodes.
If you don’t have a solid moral compass that you follow, then nothing else matters. Nothing. You will simply be a cork on the oceans of life, following the changing paths of the tides, currents and waves. I know; I have been there. And I still have to fight to stay with and strengthen my adherence to my moral compass.
What are some examples of an effective moral compass? And how do you know if you have one? Two things: 1. Your compass, your true north, has to be something that is originated and fueled outside of you–with externally inspired values, goals and checkpoints. The danger is that internally generated principles may lull us into a false sense of commitment. There must be an outside entity to learn from, and to act as a touchstone–a place to check in and see how we are handling ourselves. This does not mean that you don’t need to internalize the external teachings and examples; all is certainly lost if you don’t. But it is equally certain that it cannot be just you. 2. That outside entity must be powerful enough to keep you on track even when it is hard. If your true north’s power and influence in your life is weak, so will be your adherence to it.
What are some examples where both criteria are met? God comes immediately to mind. Whatever your definition, God meets both criteria–external and powerful. Depending upon your path to God, the external writings, religious leaders, ceremonies, legacies, etc. will be different, but each path has its external–and powerful–teachings, values and inspirations. My path to God is Christ.
Most regions in the world have their favorite source for starches, that complex carbohydrate that supplies nutrition and needed calories. Leading favorites include potatoes, rice and yams; there are many more, but we’ll use these examples. Which starch is the predominant one for most people is pretty much due to geography rather than having been a studied choice.
In a similar way, most regions have predominant religions, each capable of nourishing your soul as the different starches nourish your body. An acquaintance of mine, Mo Siegel, founder of Celestial Seasonings, among other accomplishments, enthralled by what he found on a visit to India decades ago approached the late Mother Theresa asking her if he should move and make his contributions there. She replied, “Grow where you are planted.” Applying her thoughtful response here, grow with the religion you were surrounded by when you were young. Challenge and question as you go along–both challenging and questioning are part of growing. And if you happen to leave that religion, make sure that you are moving to one that is a better, more powerful and effective moral compass for you. And not just rebelling. Rebellion by itself is the opposite of growth.
Let’s all take on the responsibility, the personal responsibility, of getting ourselves and everyone else across the finish line with equal success, as we defined success earlier on in this episode: being lifelong learners who are growing in discipline, faith, love and contribution. Remember, all of us had different starts; what matters is what we did with the start we were given.
Speaking of personal responsibility, it does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
- Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:14
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.