Thoughts of Greatness. I just celebrated my fourteenth birthday when my father broke the news. He had gotten orders from the Pentagon being reassigned from Fort Clayton, Panama to Fort Hood, Texas. It was sad to leave such a beautiful place, but that’s the life of an Army family. We were traveling by way of a ship to New York Harbor with port stops, first to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and then to Puerto Rico before our final destination.
The signal of three horn blasts from the ship sent us off on our adventure. The next two weeks were unforgettable gorgeous days of sunrises and sunsets glimmering off the white cap ocean. Above us, ever-changing clouds dancing all around provided periodic relief from the sun. The smell and taste of fresh sea air tickled my lungs. We had our own private aquatic sea show from the variety of marine life that followed alongside us feeding on the kitchen waste. The flying fishes were the coolest. The dolphins put on an acrobatic show of precision that delighted my funny bone. After viewing the postcard quality of attractive landscapes of palm trees, houses, gorgeous white sand beaches that were backdrops to all of our ports, we finally approached New York Harbor.
As we approached New York Harbor at Sunrise, there it was, the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Standing erect like an archangel, I was captivated by its secret courtship – the Statue of Liberty. Time seemed to be suspended, and I was lifted up out of myself leaving behind the slum of my thoughts and discovering a new neighborhood called Greatness. In this new community, I met new friends whose names were Beautiful, I can, Noble, Eternal, Love, Confident, Justice, Righteous and many other uplifting acquaintances. As my eyes were fixed on this inspirational sight, within me every sensibility was massaged by a mysterious energy, leaving me speechless. Later in life I fully understood the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
I recently read a true story about a lady from Georgia who was born without a leg, both of her arms stopped at the elbow with only one finger on each half arm. No need to feel pity for her, for she went on to graduate with honors. Her favorite hobby was swimming, and she typed with a skill of an executive secretary and passed the state exam as a typist; she found employment at a state agency. She had achieved all of this before we had disability laws and quotas for hiring. She worked at night part-time at the local theater and volunteered at her church. A business man that was a member of her church watched her throughout the years and was intrigued by her happy outlook. He asked her one day, “How do you maintain such a positive outlook on life; given all of these handicaps”? She replied, “Sir, I never allowed my handicaps to get into my mind.” She focused on those qualities that helped her to come up out of herself. She discovered the same neighborhood called Greatness as I. Another lady who was wheelchair bound would roll herself out on the sidewalk from her house every Saturday and witnessed to those coming by about Jesus and invited them to her church. She was the most effective evangelist in her church. Her handicap didn’t get into her mind either to stop her. What is in your mind that is stopping you? If you wound your mind, you will injure your future.
To be an effective leader, you must have a healthy mind. What kind of self-album of pictures is in your mind? Many of us are not physically handicapped like the girls in these stories, but some of us have nastier handicaps. Some wound their minds by never leaving their friends of the slums of their mind called: I can’t, Irresponsibility, Lazy, Guilt and their associates. If you are an inefficient leader, you will always be an ineffective leader. Until, the poisonous images are replaced with healthy images of divine precepts, there is no hope for you.
I believe that all principles of success are universal laws God created. Some might not know the God of these principles, but if applied, achievement soon follows. Sadly, some who know God don’t implement these principles and remain handicapped in life. So, what is the difference between those that are successful who know God and those that don’t know God? The one that doesn’t know God, their success will have no eternal significance and their wealth is stored up for another.
Meditating on the Holy Bible is the only remedy for a sick mind. The president of the University of Princeton in the early 1950’s said, “It was vital to a job application to ask about their religious faith and volunteer work there.” Why? When you find someone who is connected to something bigger than themselves and their volunteer work is done with excellence, you have a potential leader. In other words, if you can find someone who does work with excellence without payment there you will find the ingredients of a leader. It is in their heart to do a first-rate job; they don’t have to be paid to be a superb worker. Those who live in the neighborhood of Greatness appreciate the friends above.
How can a nation have success for its people without creating a picture of Godly character for the people? You cannot. Employee inefficiencies are at epidemic portions. If our eyes can only be elevated no higher than ourselves, then, there is no star-gazing for business, a church, city, state or nation to lift them up out of themselves. I believe all successful leadership principles are spiritual in nature.
At one time, many corporations had a Minister on their board. Their role was to listen to the problems the company was faced with to pray for Divine answers to be revealed to its officers. Henry Ford, for example, had his minister on his board for prayer needs and to help him evaluate applications for charitable requests. I personally knewx9 a Chairman of a Fortune 500 company with twenty-five thousand employees. He consulted his minister and the Bible as a habit, and he did two extraordinary things to get his business out of the red into a profitable position; first he stopped all work on Sunday’s to honor the Lord. The employees, of course, could choose to go to church or not, but he was going to accept the Biblical principle of rest. And second, he posted a scripture on top of their high rise building so the whole city could see it. “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.” (Joel 3:10) They were in-the-black after one year. He lifted his company up out of itself. He hired and trained people who had disabilities. He hired minorities. The company donated to worthy Christian causes. He practiced what he preached.
Unfortunately, Corporations today intimidated by the lie of separation of church and state won’t dare have a Christian Minister as a spiritual consultant for fear of the backlash. I say Christian Ministers because, if it were an Imam, Hindu priest or some other faith minister the police state would be silent. Make no mistake about it; it is not separation of church and state, it is an attack on Christianity. There was a time when some factories would shut down for Christian evangelists to address the people about their moral conditions. These business owners understood something; if they had moral people, it would maximize the betterment of the whole. Isn’t a person’s moral condition important?
What was the wooing secret of the Statue of Liberty that lifted me out of myself? I suspect it was those Christian principles that this nation was founded on to guide its people into justice and to correct injustice. Stop wounding your mind, and live at the address called Greatness. “Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.” (Psalms 71:21)