What to Say at a Tea Party
I have been invited to speak at a Tea Party in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on July 4. Wow! I am not a politician or a political activist. I am, however, a personal responsibility activist. Following are a few things I plan on talking about. Feel free to comment and make recommendations – I can use the help!
• The Wisdom of the Ages – Dad tells a great story about a great king long ago who ruled most of the known world. One day he called the wisest scholars from his kingdom together and gave them an order: “Consolidate for me the wisdom of the ages and bring it to me.”
Several years later the scholars presented the king with a set of 10 large books that contained the wisdom of the ages. “Nobody will read those books! That is too much information. Shorten them,” was the king’s response.
Six months later the wise men returned with one very large book. “Still to much!” the king said. “Make it shorter.” The scholars hung their heads and went back to work. Three months later they returned with a 20 page document. “Better, but still too much.”
The scholars left again and returned a week later. This time they handed the king one sheet of paper with once sentence on it. The king smiled as he read it:
“There Ain’t No Free Lunch”
• Our culture and the meaning of words – A friend of mine just happened to be reading his Bible on an airplane one day. The man sitting next to him, wanting to start a conversation but also a little leery, said to him, “Are you a Christian? Just so you know, I don’t believe there are any absolute truths.” My friend replied, “Are you absolutely sure?”
For some reason our culture abhors absolutes. Yet, without them, life would not exist. Think about it. What if gravity just decided to take a day off or water decided to freeze at 80 degrees? Science depends on absolutes. Human relationships also depend on absolutes. Here are a few words to consider:
Integrity – When you think of someone with integrity you think of someone who always does the right thing in the right way. You can trust them because when they give you their word, they keep it. They will share the truth with you, even when the truth hurts. They look at a situation and do what is right, not what is easy or popular. Our culture today has redefined integrity and, unfortunately, now people will say someone has integrity when that person does what they want them to do, not when they do what is right! People with integrity care about what is right, not WHO is right.
Tolerance and love – Tolerance is a huge buzz word these days. Maybe the worst sin you can commit is to be labeled “intolerant.” In fact, in the liberal dictionary being called tolerant is the equivalent of being called loving! There are many things that you can never tolerate. Terrorism is one example. Here is the difference between tolerance and love: Tolerance means that you will allow someone else to do whatever they want until it impacts you personally. True tolerance means you wouldn’t tell a friend they were about to destroy their life because of the choices they were making. Love is much different. Love means you are willing to risk your friendship and warn your friend of the mistakes he is making. In many cases, tolerance is a cop-out! Here is one thing I don’t understand: Why do the tolerant tolerate everyone but the intolerant? Wouldn’t you prove your tolerance even more by befriending the intolerant?
• You can’t do a good deal with a bad guy — People love to point out the exceptions to this one. The main reason they like to do this is they don’t have a clear understanding of what “bad” means. Please refer to integrity! In my experience there are many good people and good deals out there – why waste your time trying to make a deal with a bad guy?
• Take action, just start – What are you going to do with this information? If you agree that there “Ain’t no FREE lunch,” that integrity is the key, that it is right to be intolerant as long as you are loving, and that you can’t do a good deal with a bad guy, then how do you get started?
Two years ago I attended the memorial services for Fred Smith. Fred was Dad’s mentor and the wisest man I have ever met. Fred’s last couple years were very tough. He was bedridden, totally dependent, and in terrible pain. His mind was extremely sharp but he had very little energy. In a video he left for the memorial service, Fred talked about the lessons he learned in life, and especially in the last year before he died.
One thing Fred said really impacted me. He said that God doesn’t give you strength to overcome; He gives you strength while you are overcoming. Fred said that he realized that his only responsibility to God was to “just start” what God laid on his heart to do. In his last days, Fred impacted many lives through his writings because he “just started” each morning when he woke up. No fear, no pressure to finish the job, he “just started.” At the end of the day he would realize that God had indeed given him the strength he needed while he was overcoming. The awesome thing about this is this is exactly how God works. If we could do incredible things on our own, we really wouldn’t need God or learn to depend on Him.
• Call to Action – Today you have a choice. You can choose to be a person of integrity. You can stand up with love for what is right and refuse to tolerate what is wrong. You understand that There Ain’t No Free Lunch. You have the power to pick the good guys, and to send the bad guys on their way. Most of all, you realize that Today is the Day you Start. You will start today because you know that God has the answers and will provide everything you need. All you are responsible for is starting.
And never forget this – If you don’t start you will learn the hard way that There Ain’t No Free Lunch and You Can’t Do a Good Deal with A Bad Guy!