The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.
I heard a great message yesterday about life. Against the backdrop of New Year’s Day, my pastor spoke about the decisions we make. Of course, like many preachers, he spent some time with New Year’s resolutions and the tendency we have to want to make new choices as a new year dawns. But then he said something that made the day unique: “Before you can decide what you will do, it’s critical to decide who you want to be.”
Choices have destinations. Every one of them do. So if you don’t decide who you want to be, the choices you make will decide for you. Each day, we choose ourselves down various paths. If we don’t choose the path first, then how can our choices really make sense.
Now, this whole business of choice and direction in one’s life is one of my favorite topics. I’ve spent thousands of hours trying to plan out my life and trying to find ways to get where I want to go. The thought that someone might not have a plan is a bit foreign to me, but he said it seemed to be the path for many. I’m afraid he’s right. One of my all-time favorite books starts this way:
The puzzle is why so many people live so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs. Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People, aimless and bored, amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines.
—Run with Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best, by Eugene Peterson
If you want a strong life, you must choose the direction and life by its values. As my pastor continued, I thought of the four commitments we make as a Brotherhood–purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. I want to be the guy who is known for these things, so I must make choices every day that will take me there. Every day, I will make choices that will take me somewhere.
My pastor said several things worth writing down. One that will stick with me for awhile is, “Your talent, position, or abilities might get you to the place where your name is known, but your character will determine what you’re known for.”
So, choose well in this New Year. Choose the best targets and make sure your little choices are helping aim you in that direction. Every day, you are becoming the man you will be, so do that on purpose. It’s the best way to live and the way God has designed you to be.