Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7: 24-27 (NIV)
A cold front which has already blanketed much of our nation is heading our way tonight. It was the same weather pattern exactly one year ago almost to the day. I wonder what it will be like one year from today.
The weather, yes, but also the other things—the things we are all really thinking about that blanket our lives. I wonder what we will be looking back on at this same time next year. Well, I suppose it depends a great deal on what we take from this past year as we head into 2010.
What will we take from 2009? What can we learn from the joys and sorrows, the ups and downs of this past year? What will we learn from the example of others—whose lives are played out for all the world to see—and who seem to wrestle with the same things we do? What should we take from this past year—perhaps that one thing that will make a difference in the next. Perhaps we can look back on this year which seemed to fly by faster than most, and point to it as a turning point for the rest of our lives.
Perhaps in the few days that remain, we can see that the foundation of our lives will set the stage for everything else. Or as James Brown (JB) puts it in his book “Role of a Lifetime”…
“Depth before height.”
And he goes on to explain what he means this way:
“Depth,” of course refers to the foundation we build or need to build that will undergird everything in our lives. That foundation includes our faith, our character, integrity and honesty, living a life marked by humility and stewardship—recognizing that everything we have comes from our Creator and everything we are is the way He created us.
Our foundation reflects a proper understanding of, and a committed focus to, the most important priorities in our life—faith, family and friends.
The depth in our lives—the strength of our foundations—is marked by courage. The courage to not only pick yourself up when you fail or fall and move on, but to step out, anxiously at times, out of your comfort zones. And probably most importantly, to embrace the courage that causes you to continually look at yourself in the mirror—to see who you are—and to change what you need to change.”
And that foundation determines the height we attain in and with our lives. But JB goes on to explain, so we are not misled, what he means by “height” when he says…
“Height has nothing to do with trophies, resumes and awards. It is not a scholarship to Harvard University. Height has nothing to do with the amount of money you make, the number of cars you have, the house you live in or the size of your investment portfolio. It has nothing to do with positions or titles or the number of people you supervise. Those are all the measurements of a society that ascribes success to climbing ladders, and in terms of the acquisition of things, achievements and power.
Some of those things may occur along the way, but they are not the objective of what I mean by “height.”
Instead, “height” is very simply striving to become all you were created to be. It involves maximizing your God-given gifts and abilities, finding those things you are passionate about and pursuing them, recognizing the opportunities you have each day to add value to the lives around you and to make a difference in your world. It is demonstrated in the number of times you picked yourself up after you failed or fell. It is reflected in a life that recognizes the platforms for positive influence you have been given and the opportunities we each have as role models to change just one life.
Height is also reflected in a life that sees everyone as someone special. That is something I keep foremost in my mind—to remember to treat everyone as someone special—because they are. Everyone has a gift, a talent. Everyone has something valuable to contribute to the whole, to the team.”
“The foundation determines the height—and the impact you will leave in this world. That will determine the level of success in your life, regardless of the final verdict against the measurement of success by society.”
Here we stand—you and I—peering into all the expectations, uncertainties and opportunities of a brand New Year—2010. We have no idea how it will play out or end up, or whether we’ll even finish the year out.
May I suggest then we make it truly meaningful. May I suggest that in the days before that new year begins, that we take a moment to learn from folks like JB, and our experiences of 2009 and earlier, and commit to establish a firm foundation upon which we will build our lives, so as to soar to brand new heights in 2010.
Perhaps together we can point to 2009 as the year we established and truly followed—for once and for all—the foundation upon which we would build the rest of our lives. The foundation which begins with more than just a finger-hold on God, but embraces a firm belief in Him and His Son as the underlying foundation of our lives. A foundation which holds firmly family and friends, and thereafter seeks opportunities through our careers and other things to positively impact the world around us.
What will we be looking back on this time next year?
What we see when we look back will depend on the foundations of our lives—established today.
See you next year!
In His Name—Scott