May 1996 – As vice president of American Family Association, one of my duties is to speak to groups and churches about the issues that most concern us. I don’t mind traveling – in fact, I enjoy seeing different parts of the country and meeting the people – but with three small children, I try not to go too often. Besides, my ironing backs up on me real quick. (Yes, men, I admit it, I am an ironing machine. And I iron because I like it, not because Alison tells me to.)
When I do speak to groups, I usually begin by reading from Matthew 5: 6-10. Jesus Christ says in verse 10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And in verses 13 and 14 He speaks of His followers being “salt” and “light” in the world. It seems to me that if you’re going to have a mission, you need a clear reason for pursuing that mission. And in the case of a Christian ministry, this is even more important to understand.
It also seems to me when you boil it all down, the Christian’s role in being salt and light in the world is to do good and oppose evil. And I mean “good” and “evil” as they are defined in the Bible. The 10 Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount give definition to these words.
What’s so encouraging to us here at AFA, is to know there are hundreds of thousands of God-fearing people across the country who are standing with us “for righteousness.” Not self-righteousness, but righteousness. There is a big difference.
Yet, there are so many who share our worldview, but never do anything to address the moral problems that are threatening to bring our country down.
But you know what? We who do care and are involved in fighting the good fight of faith don’t have time to worry about those who are unwilling. Many want to enjoy the fruits of the labor that those who stand for virtue and decency bring, but they don’t want to join the battle themselves. But we must “go with what we got,” as I heard one basketball coach say recently.
One of my favorite quotes of all time – and I use it whenever I go and speak – comes from President Theodore Roosevelt. For those of you who have been reading this column for a few years, you’ve seen this quote before. It bears repeating often.
It’s not the critic who counts – not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause...Who, at the least knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Next month: Ironing tips for men.