I’m going to start this letter with what I like to think of as a “modern parable.” I used this quote in a letter years ago, but after 10 more years experience, I’m more convinced than ever it’s a needed, important part of the Gospel today. I like it because there’s a thread of Gospel Truth buried in it, even though it’s not a Biblical quote. I like it, not because of that ethic found in it, but because of its devotion to being constant in our daily efforts to be faithful. I think the essence of this quote is a safe hint of how to experience more and more of the Faithfulness of God the Father. If I had to give people something to try, something they could try to see how it works, (and I wasn’t permitted to say ‘knowing God’ for my answer), this quote would be very close to what I would say. Not just how to be successful but how to experience something we so much want: the evidence of the presence of God in their lives.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered…Love them anyway
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives…Do good anyway
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies…Succeed anyway
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow…Do good anyway
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable…Be honest and frank anyway
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by
the smallest men and women with the smallest minds…Think big anyway
People favor underdogs but only follow top dogs…Fight for a few underdogs anyway
What you spend your years building may be destroyed overnight…Build anyway
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them…Help people anyway
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth…Give the world the best you have anyway!
(written by Kent Keith)
Summed up: Trust in God’s Love for us! “Anyway” has been quoted and published by politicians, business leaders, military commanders, teachers, religious leaders, and coaches. It’s been used by the Boy Scouts, the Special Olympics, quoted at the United Nations… Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, India, had it hanging on their wall.
Believers must sell out that Christ is our Hope in all situations, no matter how stacked against us those situations are. We need to own the expectation that God will see this through even if the world around us will not. If we can make up our minds to follow our hearts, to live the Truths of God, we often would be doing the things described in this poem. We need to persuade our minds to do the things that God says works for us and quit making “adjustments” by responding to the physical world around us. And, although so much is against us, we can have the confidence described in this “parable” because the Spirit of God leads us into all Truth, shares with us how to live. Jesus is the Way and the Light of Life to lead us into that Truth.
“Do it anyway!” can be a motto for Believers: simplified, “Do the Gospel anyway.” It doesn’t matter how illogical or how unpopular with people around us it is, just do it anyway. God said His ways were foolishness to men so we should quit being so alarmed or ashamed of that. We were never taught to concentrate on the results of our Faith actions as much as live by Faith not the sight of our eyes and minds. It’s a quiet confidence even when it doesn’t look or feel like things are working for us at all. Remember the story of Samuel and Saul? Samuel was busy trying a bit of everything to solve his “king problem.” He’d done everything but trust God. Samuel’s answer was already in the field; a shepherd boy was God’s provision for Samuel’s problem even though Samuel was completely unaware! (Where might our provision be hidden?)
While reading the Dwight L. Moody biography, I remember a story about Moody’s confidence in God. Someone asked him how he felt about the death of his grandchild and Moody replied he’d almost forgotten how he felt about anything. Until explained, that story sounds very cruel. However, Moody continued that he had learned to act on his confidence in God, rather than depending on how he “felt” about any situation. The comparison of our “feelings” contrasted with God’s Word and Spirit becomes almost comical to think about. Nothing that’s True of God is changed by how the world views it. How we feel about anything is in no way as powerful as our dependency on God. Trusting Him above any of our feelings. Perhaps, we should stop checking our fleshly experience to determine our spiritual life. In 2012, when Jane was paralyzed head to toe and on a breathing machine, when every organ had failed and when every physical observation ‘looked’ bleak, we found a natural ability to believe that God was with us, embraced us, cared and rallied our hearts for us. Faith ruled over what we were seeing! We were not in a denial about the physical but experienced affirmation of the realness of God’s Love for her, no matter the physical! (If you play pinochle you know for a fact that you have an all powerful trump card in the game. Our trump card was a certainty of a compassionate, eager to Love God.)
God’s our source of abiding gladness and joy. Eventually, gladness and joy will not be found in things we put in the bank, have in our garages or homes. It’s what we’ve stored in our hearts that matters. When storms come, what’s inside our hearts will be revealed, or as the old saying goes, “When your cup gets bumped, then we’ll know what’s inside the cup.” Secularism depends upon circumstances to make us happy. God’s Joy is available in any circumstance simply because God is present in our circumstances! Psalm 4 references a Gladness in our hearts and a sleep (Rest) in Peace. I think Eugene Peterson, in his The Message translation, calls that Peace an awareness of God’s ‘more-than-enough.’
There’s Rest in God that’s not obtainable by our labor or our pain. Labor is not how God gave gifts to Solomon (1Kings 3:3-15), or how He gave Adam a bride, or Abraham a covenant! They were all asleep, unable to do for anything for themselves, when God blessed each of them.
The time of Jesus’ rejection was a time of confusion, doubt and fear. John had questioned who he was, others had rejected him saying that Jesus was a drunkard and glutton; his works were, in the end, fruitless to confirm his standing as Son of God. It appeared to his followers’ eyes and minds to be a time of great failure and trouble. Yet, Jesus found Rest in a Faith simply knowing the Father’s will. While the disciples were “weary and heavy laden”, while everything seemed to be going wrong, Jesus offered a solution. He invited them to “come unto me and I will give you Rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find Rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
To follow Jesus is to enter into a way of Life, one that’s given its character and frame by the nature of Christ. That frame is able to hold us up. It’s picking up the rhythms of Jesus in such a way that we not only observe what he is saying but we begin to walk in what he is doing and how he’s doing it. Many times, following him is as much about our feet as it is our ears. So! Love anyway, do good anyway, succeed anyway, be honest anyway, think big anyway, fight for the underdog anyway, build anyway, help people anyway, give the best you have anyway. Do it without looking around to judge how it’s working, do it without being moved by what we hear and see, just do it anyway! Do the Gospel, trust in Christ, simply because God said it would work anyway.