This looks like fun
This looks like fun
The ruins of Stonehenge lie north of Salisbury, England. To this day, despite intensive research and discovery, the purpose of this 4000 year old monument remains a mystery. No one knows for sure why or even how it was built. The large stones are believed to have been transported from Marlborough downs, a distance of 20 miles while some of the smaller stones (still up to 4 tons in weight) may have been brought from Wales – nearly 160 miles away.
It is difficult to explain how, using primitive technology, such large pieces were moved such great distances. The project continued for nearly 1000 years and required the labor of thousands of individuals. The sheer scope of the effort suggests that Stonehenge was hugely important to the ancient people of Britain. But we don’t know why. The site fell into disuse and disrepair, and its significance has long been forgotten.
Today, in the former country of Yugoslavia, dozens of monuments commemorating World War II battles stand abandoned and forgotten. Millions per year visited these sites 30 years ago, but 500 years from now, will anyone know why they are there? Some of these sites are already beginning to look like ruins and even today they are virtually unknown outside of their own territory.
In the Bible, speaking of the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus said, “there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down (Matthew 24:2).” And within a generation, his words came true. Indeed, the world and all its works continue to pass away (I John 2:17). Even the great and noble things of this world do not last, nor do the memorials we create to honor them.
And yet we still look in awe at the mystery of Stonehenge and we admire the work of its nameless creators. I suspect that, if they stand, the monuments in Yugoslavia will evoke a similar response many years hence.
More than the monument, though, the legacy of Stonehenge lives in the people – the descendants of the ancients who built it. The culture that created Stonehenge is one of the building blocks of the English-speaking world that exists today.
In the same way, those neglected monuments to World War II represent a generation that sacrificed and suffered greatly and that, for good and for ill, shaped the world as we know it.
And for us, too, that is what will ultimately last. Not the projects completed, houses built, or possessions obtained. None of the physical creations will be remembered, but the ideas, the interactions, and the character that shapes our works will also shape our futures.
The inimitable virtuosos strike again with a Christmas classic:
I Timothy 2:1-2 – “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
I Thessalonians 4:9-12 – “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing… But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
II Thessalonians 3:11-12 – “We hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
Nike advises us in their commercials to Find Your Greatness. Television shows like The Voice and American Idol have become the aspiration of multitudes of bedroom musicians hoping to find their big break and attain stardom. And Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and countless other social media allow us all to market ourselves and help us feel like we are bigger fish than we actually are.
When I talk to young people, and even to those who are older, most have a strong inner drive to “do something that matters.” We like to think that we are engaged in something important; something that is going to help shape the world.
But the thing that matters is not reaching the top of the heap. It’s not being in a position where you can control outcomes and have a great deal of influence in the lives of others. It isn’t being “great,” or notorious, or a star. The really important thing is living a life of personal integrity.
In the Bible, we are encouraged to “aspire to live quietly and to mind (our) own affairs.” To seek to mind our own business, and to let others mind theirs. It’s interesting that those words are found in the middle of a discussion on loving one another – and doing so more and more.
We tend to think of love in terms of what we do for others. But love also consists in letting others alone – allowing them to make their own decisions, manage their own affairs, and to enjoy the fruits and consequences of so doing.
Further, our ability to do really big things is only enhanced when we focus first on finding peace, stability, and order at home. Jesus said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5).
We grow weary of corrupt politicians who tell us how to live our lives while their own are scandal ridden. And we rightly scoff at pastors and religious leaders who preach one thing and do another. But the same principle applies to you and me. First let us learn to manage ourselves and our own responsibilities. Then we may, perhaps, have clear insight to help others.
1. When things get tough, just keep going.
When most people encounter a rough patch, they quit. The truly successful people in the world keep going no matter what. Never let your setbacks win.
2. Consistency creates habit.
To incorporate anything into your life, you have to make it a habit. To make something a habit, you have to be consistent. Whatever it is you’re aiming for, make it a part of your life.
3. You’ll have to get through hell before you get to heaven.
Like all things worth pursuing, you are going to get knocked down, stepped on, and rejected along the way. Consider this to be part of the path to your goals. Sometimes it’s more about the journey than the destination.
4. Reaching your goals will take a lot of work.
If it doesn’t, it’s either not a goal, not worth pursuing, or will not have any fulfillment. Never expect to not put in work and get somewhere.
5. Every aspect of life is mental.
It’s not about what you do or what happens to you, it’s about how to respond to it. It’s how you decide to carry on. Your power comes from inside your head.
6. You do have time– you just have to make it.
If something is important to you, you’ll make time for it. If not, you’ll make excuses.
7. You define your own limits.
Your limits aren’t put unto you by your parents, other people, or the universe. You are in total control of it. You decide whether or not to shoot for the moon or stay right where you are.
8. If you wait for the right conditions, you’ll never get anything done.
Don’t wait for anything or anybody. You know what you have to do to reach your goals and get things done. Just go do them!
9. Go beyond your limits every day and watch the magic happen.
You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve if you just push yourself a little further.
10. There is peace even in the most chaotic times.
No matter now grueling, stressful, sorrowful, or painful your situation is, there is always a silver lining and something positive to be found. Seek it out, learn from it, and keep moving on.
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