Leaving A Positive Legacy

Steve Arterburn

Did you know the Nobel Peace Prize is named after Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite? How did this come to be? It’s an interesting story. When Alfred’s brother Ludvig died, a newspaper mistook Ludvig for Alfred. As a result, the newspaper printed Alfred’s obituary, with a headline that read, ‘The Merchant of Death Is Dead.’ The obituary then proceeded to describe Alfred as a man who made his fortune helping people kill one another.

Alfred Nobel was cut to the heart. His legacy, as the obituary described it, was simply tragic. So he set himself to the task of changing it while he was still able. When Alfred really died eight years later, he left $9 million to fund awards for people whose work benefited humanity’thus, the birth of what we know as Nobel Peace Prizes.

Alfred Nobel was given a rare gift: the opportunity to read his own obituary, and make changes before it was too late. Men, perhaps it would be fruitful to spend a while imagining yourselves in his shoes. If your life ended today, how might those around you assess your contribution to your fellow man? Don’t concern yourself with the quantity of those contributions, for bigger is certainly not always better. Concentrate instead on their quality.

Unlike Alfred Nobel, none of us will probably ever read our own obituaries. However, all of us have the opportunity to live examined lives, and to make changes where changes need making.

Life After 2 PM

It came across to me one Sunday that I do not listen as well to the Spirit of God when I am out of an element of Godly fellowship or church related activity. As an example, on church days I am able to cage my internal ego knowing I am going to be fed and experience some good ole God joyfulness (especially during ‘praise and worship time’) at my church. At church I believe and experience the Spirit of God speaks to me. This is a place where I let God reveal things to me, comfort me, confront me and challenge me (that is where this article is coming from). It seems to follow me from the rise of the morning to the service and somewhat into the early afternoon. But then something happens! Somewhere around 2 PM, my internal ego is let out of its cage: I got it, I’m good, I can do it God.’ Then the rest of the week begins the wrestle of ‘who’s the boss here?’

Most commonly, at that point I do go on and deliver my week of obligations, promises and commitments to social systems and family. But as the week tarries on, it appears that my life becomes a highway I have entered onto and it speeds up ever so quickly. Internally, while on the highway of life, I truly am waiting for the next off-ramp to pull over and take a rest as in the animated movie ‘Cars’ when Mac is driving Lightning McQueen to the California coast for his big race. On the way they are driving late at night and Lightning wants Mac to pull an all-nighter to get to the coast before the challengers do. Mac being aware of his strength, energy and regulations (rules and boundaries) tells Lightning that he is tired and should pull over to rest.

But Mac gives in (against his better judgment) to Lightning’s promptings to drive on only because Lightning exclaimed he would stay awake with him the whole trip. As expected, Mac is left alone in the late hour, driving to keep himself awake while Lightning is fast asleep. In the mist of this late night journey three cars come around and taunt and tease Mac as he is swerving on the road (because he is falling asleep). And that is exactly how I have observed and experienced not tending to care or protect my life from the ‘highway of life.’ And life after 2 PM on Sunday seems to be the spot when we get onto the highway and proceed and exit only if truly necessary. And often against the better judgment of our heart and soul, our ego says drive on. It is there we place ourselves into a dangerous circumstance. As when Mac was having difficulty staying awake and swerving on the road he then became vulnerable to the three other little cars directing and pushing him around on the highway. And Mac being a huge truck is moved around easily by little sporty cars.

Do you think that you are so big that nothing could truly push you around? Are you one who tends to hit the road with the family (or by yourself) and NEVER stop till you make your destination? And if you do have to stop, does it cause you to become angry, annoyed or frustrated with those who have to take a ‘potty/stretch break?’

It seems a bit interesting that author M. Scott Peck titled his book ‘The Road Less-Traveled.’ In that book, the author challenges readers to consider the path they chose and why they pick it with regard to their healing and faith in Jesus. In avoidance of any difficulty and struggle for growth, many appear to take a fast way of living: the highway. For example, as a sexual addict, you may select a supposedly quick fix path for recovery (like: I’ll just read “Every Man’s Battle” and I am good from here on). Taking the ‘road’ implies taking-in the environment you are traveling through and where you have come from. While the ‘highway’ implies ‘just get me there.’ Irregardless you are left with the choice when it comes to 2 PM on Sunday. Either you can start a journey at the ‘road’ or the ‘highway.’ The most enjoyable, nurturing, fulfilling and healing seems to always be taking the road in life. But then again, now its 2:07 PM and you can either exit onto the road of healing or, zoom-on missing the healing and rewarding life God has for you from your sexual addiction.

For more help see Every Man’s Battle and our Resources for Men.

Martin Fierro

Asking For Directions

Stephen Arterburn

Men, God has a way of showing us that we don’t know as much as we think we do. And He will certainly act when we need to be shown that we don’t know better than He does.

 

That’s what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar, who had to learn a serious lesson in humility. Talk about a severe act of mercy: For seven years, this once proud king was struck with a mental illness that caused him to roam the pastures outside the palace and chew grass like a cow. After paying the price for his pride, the once self-sufficient and self-centered king said: ‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble’ (Daniel 4:37). In this confession, three things are key for me: the words ‘everything,’ and ‘all,’ and the phrase ‘his ways.’

 

These words speak to the king’s new understanding of God’s control and to the choice he wants each of us to make: God’s way or my way. Too often we neglect to ask God, ‘How do you want me to handle this?’ or  ‘What does God’s Word call me to do in this?’  How should I respond to this situation in a manner consistent with God’s word?

 

The reasons for not asking these questions boil down to one of two issues: ignorance or arrogance. And neither is something I’d recommend. Men, neither will benefit you, and both carry very high price tags.