I am on my second reading of Orrin Woodward’s book Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE. In chapter two which is about character, Orrin uses a quote by C.S. Lewis, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” As everything that Orrin produces, whether it be by book, CD, or blog, this quote and Orrin’s chapter got me thinking.
Our society is at a crossroads. As Oliver DeMille says, we are on the verge of either a Force Shift or a Freedom Shift. More and more people are unsettled and concerned about our nation’s future; people are still struggling to find employment, inflation continues to rob the value of our hard-earned dollars, and character seems to be at an all-time low, which I believe to be one of the main causes of the decline of our nation. The lines of people’s lives would seem to be getting more and more crooked.
I was listening to a cd by Tim Marks about character and he shared a story of his former employment where employees would take turns clocking in each other’s time cards while the other was on vacation. So in essence, they were getting a paid vacation without permission. I’ve worked with people who have skipped out of work early, lied on time cards, taken items from work, and used company credit cards to make personal purchases. I’ve seen poor character taught in our schools and on our kids’ sports teams. A relative of mine recently shared some crazy and sad stories of poor character that he witnessed at a couple of different churches he attended.
Perhaps the reason people are so quick to cheat their bosses, cheat on their taxes, commit adultery, make little white lies to their spouses, and commit any other number of “small things” is because our society has less and less straight lines to show the way. Abraham Lincoln said, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” But if a person has no light or revelation of what it means to have character or integrity, then the line becomes crooked.
As I pondered this some more, I then asked, “Where are people being taught integrity and character?” If someone is not as blessed as I am to attend an amazing church that is very strong when it comes to these virtues, and there are churches like the ones my relative attended, or don’t attend schools that understand morals and absolute truth, then just where will they learn them? Enter LIFE.
Where churches, schools, and society in general have come up short, the LIFE business is fulfilling a desperate need in our world. LIFE is a systematic way of finding and developing servant-leaders who desire to grow personally and professionally and be compensated to help others do the same (if they so choose). Aside from my church, and the occasional person here and there, I have never been around such a concentrated core of amazing people of integrity, character, truth, and purpose. And I don’t mean just when it comes to being a “nice” person. These are people who have integrity when it comes to money, business, relationships, freedom, and leadership, and then exercise the courage it takes to turn integrity into character.
When I associate with people like this, it brings godly conviction to my heart to step up my game. I am inspired to be a better child of God. I’m inspired to be a better leader, a better husband, a better father, and a better person. Do not misunderstand me. I do not feel condemned, but motivated, because these are people like me that had to overcome, change the way they thought, and reprogram their thinking, just like I must do to change as well.
The ripple effect of what LIFE is doing will ultimately never be measurable. The lives being effected within the business is tremendous, but as the members of LIFE live out their lives and interact with their families and communities, the effects on those who will never join LIFE is and will continue to be astounding.
My wife recently went through the driveway at Starbucks. She ordered her usual cinnamon dulce latte, and by the time she received her drink, the people in line behind her had ordered their drink as well. Courtnee had the idea to go ahead and purchase the people’s drinks behind her. She didn’t know who they were or where they were from or whether they were rich or poor. She simply decided to perform one of those random acts of kindness.
About a week later, Courtnee went through the Starbucks drive through again. It was the same woman at the window as before. The woman proceeded to tell Courtnee that her decision to purchase the drinks of the people behind her continued on for almost an hour. The drivers of fifteen to twenty cars following Courtnee decided to pay forward what they had been blessed with.
That may seem a small thing, but these are the actions of people who the LIFE business produces. All glory ultimately goes to God, but He does not receive glory if others are not taught virtue, integrity, character, honor, and truth. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.”
LIFE is dedicated to teaching into the hearts of people “good treasure.” With the right information we can confidently live out one of my favorite quotes, “You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” (Marianne Williamson).
So if you are humble enough to recognize that you are not perfect and have crooked lines in your life that need straightening, welcome to LIFE. The leaders and members of LIFE are not perfect either, of course, but we all have a desire to learn, grow, and become the people God destined us to be. We are always endeavoring to straighten out the crooked lines of our lives so that we will “manifest the glory of God,” and live the lives we’ve always wanted.