Working on a Dream




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Living with Courage

"What makes a King out of a slave? Courage.
What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk? Courage.
What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.
What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage.
What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?! Courage.
What makes the Hottentot so hot? Courage.
What puts the "ape" in ape-ricot? Courage.  
Whatta they got that I ain't got? Courage!   You can say that again..."

The Cowardly Lion
 Winston Churchill said,  
"The first of all human qualities is courage.
The reason is because it guarantees all the others."

In John McCain's powerful book titled, "Why Courage Matters" , he tells an unforgettable story about about the University of Alabama's legendary football coach, Bear Bryant.
Before the start of every game, Bryant would walk the quarterback along the sidelines in silence. Then at just the right moment, he would turn to the young man and give him just two words of advice: "Be Brave."

It is pretty obvious why that would be good advice to a quarterback.
-Be Brave because you will have 11 violent men wanting to do nothing but rip your head off of your shoulders.
-Be Brave because you will face coaches that have studied you all week.
-Be Brave as you listen to thousands of opposing fans that want to see you fail.

When we think of courage, often we think of physical abilities like, Strength. Power. Agility.

But there is another aspect of courage that a person must have at all times. That is moral courage.
Rare are the times when we will use our physical abilities to display our courage; Often will be the times when we will need to display our moral courage. John McCain said, "Have the courage to keep your virtue when facing unwanted consequences."
I would place a firm bet that John McCain knows a thing or two about what it means to have courage...

Time to open up:
I would like share a story that happened to me just this past weekend. My wife and I were in Pittsburgh for a concert and upon entering the parking lot the attendant said, "$20 please."
I handed him a 20 dollar bill, and he handed me back change and my ticket.

Later, I noticed that he gave me back $20.

All throughout the concert the moral decision weighed on my mind & heart. Do I go back to the attendant and tell him the truth? Or do I pass him by on the walk of shame to my car?

Right after the concert ended, I walked straight to the attendant, and told him that the person taking my money made a mistake and gave me my money back.

My wife asked me what was my motivation for telling the truth on the way home.
I told her the following:
1. Jesus said, "If you cannot be trusted with the small things, then you cannot be trusted with the larger things." So yes, you better sweat the small stuff, because the small stuff makes up the big stuff. Listen, my faith is defined not by what I do in the light, but what I do in the darkness.  Bearing that in mind, it takes a courageous person to live an integrated life.

2. My integrity costs way more than a mere $20. It was Saturday night, and all I could think about was Sunday morning and facing the congregation.  I could not get up in front of the church and be a phony-baloney.

How did I feel afterward?
To be honest, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I could stand a little taller, breathe a little easier and walk a little prouder.

This is what courage does for a person.
This is what courage will do for you.

1 comment:

Ann Mullen said...

Good job, Anthony. I know you guys could use the money, but you knew you needed your integrity more. Once we got over $100 change back when we were poor college students and we went right back into the store and got it straightened out. It was the only way to solve that decision. The clerk would have gotten into lots of trouble for having a cash drawer that didn't balance. He might have had to pay it back.