Photo credit: Runga/Tammy Horton Photography
Welcome to my Testaments series, inspired by the meaningful thoughts, insights, and discoveries I’ve made each week and intentionally designed to help make your life a little better.
You can find a series in it fully here.
Commandment 29: Chariots of Fire
A few nights ago, my sons and I were watching a classic movie Chariots of fire. The film is based on the true story of two British athletes at the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who “runs for the glory of God” and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. At a pivotal moment in the story, Eric refuses to run in the 100-meter race at the Olympics because the race is on a Sunday and Eric is eager to honor the Lord’s Day. I won’t spoil the story for you if you haven’t seen it yet, but at one of the movie’s key moments, Eric reads a Bible verse from Samuel 2:30, “Whoever honors me, I will honor.” and then he goes out and has one of the best races of his life.
Why am I telling you this? Well, if you’re reading mine Wandering Saturday fast, then you are well aware of the many benefits of one full, luxurious day of rest each week – a day in which you can glimpse at least a tiny glimpse of what eternal bliss and eternal rest will be like in the afterlife. . One of the best parts of my week is waking up every Sunday morning and knowing that there is nothing left for me to do but worship God, play guitar, hit some tennis balls, go on adventures, be with my family, party, and just generally be.” relax.” Eric Liddell is a great example of someone who recognizes this as well, and recognizes that “keeping the Sabbath” is a major part of glorifying and being in oneness with God
Because we are a country founded on Christian principles, a hundred years ago in America you would have been hard pressed to find anything like that any business is open on Saturday. People knew what was good for them, and they knew that there was deep wisdom behind the concept of including a full day of rest in every week. That is why people rested on this day. Goes to church. Help each other. Big dinners. Tourism. Swimming. Fishing. Playing. But these days – apart from a few random restaurants that don’t seem to be open for Sunday lunches – it’s pretty hard to find any creation that is closed on Sunday. To make matters worse, Sundays are often dedicated to the “worship” of sports gods and goddesses in a giant arena where people pay to participate in one of the most striking examples of the modern commercialization of the Sabbath.
To be honest, at least for me, it is difficult on these days honor the Sabbath. this it is difficult making sure I have all my groceries so I don’t have to go to the grocery store to make a Sunday meal; it is difficult turning down Super Bowl party invitations (which, ironically, are usually from my Christian friends); it is difficult to avoid getting bogged down in extra work and business catch-ups with the few extra “free” hours I have on Sunday; and it is difficult creatively find ways not to spend money and not often run errands on Sunday. Much of this is because I grew up as a regular Christian in America: knowing that I should have honored the Sabbath day and kept it holy, but regard this commandment more as a friendly suggestion, which is not really possible to follow in our time (though it is indeed does not appear impossible once you start trying).
At some point during anyway Chariots of fire, a young boy is reprimanded for throwing a soccer ball on Sunday. Here’s the thing: I think it’s “too much.” I don’t think exercising on Sunday is wrong. Nor does one help one’s fellow man. Nor can the hospital be kept open for emergency treatment. Also not going for a bike ride. Hell, if a whole bunch of athletes want to go into the arena and beat each other up on Sunday because they love to do it, and a whole bunch of people want to go see those athletes for free since it’s relaxing for them to go see a good game, I think it’s even okay because nobody’s paying for any of it, and it’s all just for the love of the game.
But I want to encourage you to approach Sunday (or Saturday, if it’s your Sabbath) with more respect, honor, and gratitude for this special day of rest. Just imagine: if we all did that, there would be more and more businesses would not be open on Sunday and we could eventually go back to an easier, less stressful weekend where we could barely even work or often attend business on Sunday if we wanted to. We would finally have an official day off every week and it wouldn’t be weird or out of the ordinary. The problem is that most people won’t – because who wants to tell their son that he can’t play in the basketball finals because they’re on a Sunday; or telling their daughter that she shouldn’t go to a matinee with her friends on a Sunday afternoon; or tell themselves that they need to skip that afternoon job on Sunday? You see, most people are not set up to change the world. How about that you? If you’re on the fence, read this.
Commandment 30: Heritage and Honor
Whether you have kids or plan to eventually have kids, I bet you’d like those kids to have some sense of heritage, associations of healthy family pride, and a deep sense of belonging in the family. For example, I want my sons to know what it means to be a Greenfielder, to know that a Greenfield man or woman is valued, to know the Greenfield family values, to understand the Greenfield mission, to be intimately familiar with the Greenfield family constitution, and to be valued and an important part of Greenfield’s overall legacy plan, which I discuss in episodes like my podcast with Rich Christiansen of Legado Family Foundation.
Why is this so important? The way I look at it is that every cohesive tribe has a set of rules and laws, a common language, valuable traditions, history, hierarchy, traditions, common friends, and even common enemies. The classic and all-too-common riches-to-rags scenario that plagues the modern family is often linked to the virtual absence of these types of “tribal” concepts woven into the family. The child grows up somewhat alienated or unfamiliar with what it is funds have their last name, and what is expected of them because they have that last name. In contrast, a child who can recite the family’s mission statement, explain the family crest, remember family values, and knows family traditions, rituals, and daily routines is more likely to carry these valuable tribal elements into the next generation and is likely to build on these elements to create even more proactive personal, financial and impactful success for generations to come.
They will also be far away less may succumb to the usual temptations. I imagine a future where my sons are, say, offered drugs at a party, and I confidently say: “I am greenfield, and I consider my body holy, like the temple of God.” or are tempted by pornography, promiscuous sex, or adultery and say: “I’m a Greenfield man and we care about women and we value them as human beings created in God’s image and we treat them like queens and princesses.” or they are given the opportunity to make a cheat or shortcut at a competition, race or other event and say: “I am greenfield, and I do what is right, no matter what or how painful it may be, because I am radically honest and transparent.”
See what I mean? A legacy goes far beyond simply creating something like generational wealth, but also building nobility, honor and pride in your children so that they can grow up to be reliable people who will make this world a better place. So, if you haven’t already, plan how you’re going to weave values and traditions into your own family and make your children proud of their last name and get to know deeply what it really means to have their last name. Listen to mine podcast with Rich Christiansen or read this article about heritage to learn more.
Commandment 31: Consequences
How often do you “project into the future” the consequences of your actions? Especially in today’s age of email, task management software, organizational systems, and the near-obsession with productivity and completing checklists, we often tend to rush through to-do lists and tasks without fully considering the consequences of our decisions.
For example, before agreeing to take on a project, do you sit down and ask yourself, do you truly and authentically want to do it, or are you just taking it on to “get someone off your back” or to please people? before you say “Let me get back to you on that,” or “Give me a few days to think it over” ask yourself if you’re creating false hope for someone simply by deflecting a resounding no that you know will be your final decision anyway. Before you respond in anger, excitement, frustration, or anxiety to a social media comment or offhand remark, ask yourself if you’re really in the right mental and spiritual space to respond (usually the answer to this question “no”!). Before you give someone advice, answer a message, take a phone call, or send a text message, try to take at least one deep breath and pause to consider the consequences of your decision. Most people just don’t. But it’s not hard once you get into the habit, and it pairs perfectly with the type of mindful presence I’m discussing here and the golden rule of life that I discuss here.
So consider the consequences. Try this with every decision you make this week. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find that people will truly appreciate your forward thinking and you’ll make much better decisions.
That’s it for this week! If you have questions, comments, or feedback, please leave your thoughts below. I read them all!