DO IT ANYWAY!
It’s been 26 years now, since Kathy and I moved our family from Hampton, VA to Glen Burnie, MD to
become the pastors of Abundant Life Church. Looking back I remember when I began to realize that the longevity and legacy that we dreamed about was actually taking place. While I was attending a conference and sharing a meal with a number of other attendees, one of them asked me, “How long have you been at your church?” I responded 20 years. I can still hear and see the shock on this person’s face and then he replied, “Well, you’re either crazy or you really love it.” I responded, “It’s possible that it’s both, it just depends which day or season you’re in.” We all laughed because we all knew how true it was.
Last weekend as I was teaching about how God would like to use each of us to change the world and in particular encouraging us to love people outrageously. I repeated a quote that I hadn’t used for quite some time. And, it struck a particular chord in many of our hearts. It reminded us of how important our motivation is for what we are doing, enduring or enjoying. It refreshed me as it refreshed others and in reflecting on its influence I was sure it may be just what some of you might need to read. It also struck me that it could be an important key to longevity in anything we are doing.
“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it’s all between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.”*
It’s true serving people can be hazardous. On the other hand there are few more satisfying and rewarding experiences in life than to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life even if it takes a while to be able to see it and celebrate it. I received a phone call yesterday from a widow whose husband I had conducted his funeral service for over a decade ago. She reported that a young family member made a commitment to follow Christ at that service. He said he was actually made fun of by his siblings for his decision that day as he recounted his story to her. Now a decade later, he’s been living his life in following Christ, serving others and providing a wonderful legacy of faith to his family. It’s a good thing he didn’t let the ridicule keep him from doing what he decided that day. Listen, whatever good thing you’re thinking about not doing, do it anyway. It’s likely to pay greater dividends than you can ever imagine.
*Taken from the book, Do It Anyway: The Handbook for Finding Personal Meaning and Deep Happiness in a Crazy World author, Kent M. Keith. According to the author, Mother Teresa was so moved by these statements that she hung them on a wall in her orphanage in Calcutta, India.