Monday, April 21, 2014

Intentions and the Ever-Elusive ‘Round Tuit’


Have you ever seen a “round tuit”? Years ago a friend gave me one, a round, wooden coin displaying a circle around the word, “TUIT.” It’s ideal for people who are always saying, “I’ll get around to it.” When they say that, just hand them the little coin and say, “Now you have one.”

If you ever get your hands on one of these, you can
never claim being unable to "get around to it."
As silly as that seems, too often our lives seem to be plagued by failure to get a “round tuit.” We know we need to make that phone call to an old friend or a family member, but have a hard time getting around to it. We should start that weight-loss program, or a consistent exercise program – we just can’t seem to get around to it.

Saturday arrives and your spouse asks you to do some undesirable chore. You promise to “get around to it,” but don’t. (My hand is raised – guilty as charged.) Or someone recommends an excellent book to read, and you know it would be helpful, but never get around to it.

Thousands of Baby Boomers now contemplating retirement realize they’re not close to being ready financially. They intended to get with a financial advisor, or embark on a consistent savings program for the time when they’d no longer be drawing a regular paycheck, but didn’t get around to it. Now it’s too late.

Maybe at a worship service or conference we’re inspired to take steps to strengthen our spiritual life. “I’m going to start reading my Bible and pray. I want to do it every day.” But somehow, we never get around to it.

It’s all about good intentions. Someone said a long time ago, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Too harsh? Well, Aldous Huxley, author of the classic novel, Brave New World, expanded on that idea. He said, “Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.” Clever – and true, in many cases.

Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, made this observation: “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well.” She was right. After spotting the victim of highway robbers and thinking, “Someone ought to do something!” the Good Samaritan decided he needed to be that “someone” and took action to help (Luke 10:25-37). 

Good intentions aren’t bad – as long as they’re accompanied by good implementations. I know the difference. As a professional writer, all of my work to date has been with non-fiction. I’ve always wondered if I have it in me to write a novel, and my intention has been to give it a try. But aside from some halting attempts, I haven’t yet given this a wholehearted effort. Until I move my good intentions into action, I’ll always wonder, “What if…?”

The same applies to the concern and compassion many of us feel toward the downtrodden, people in need. Like the Good Samaritan we realize someone should do something. Rather than waiting for the government or some charitable agency to do all the work, maybe we could be that someone. But we need to stir our good intentions into productive activity.

Playwright, novelist, poet and critic Oscar Wilde commented, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”

The Bible offers a stern warning. Failure to act upon good intentions is more serious than simply missing out on opportunities. It actually defines this as sinful behavior: “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

So if you ever encounter someone who argues, “I’m not a sinner” – perhaps even yourself – ask the simple question: “Have you ever failed to act on your good intentions?” If they confess that they have, then you can respond, “Busted!”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Receiving Life – Through Death


Death. We hate thinking about it yet have a morbid fascination with it. Whenever we hear about a major disaster in which lives were lost, we rush to our news media of choice for details. If someone famous dies – an entertainer, athlete, or public figure – we’re quick to ask our friends, “Have you heard…?”

Many of us have indelible memories etched in stone when asked where we were when we heard JFK was assassinated, Elvis and/or Michael Jackson died, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, or when the horrific events of 9/11 unfolded.

Local newscasts often open with stories about homicides, traffic fatalities and tragic fires. Why? Because people watch. We read obituaries to see if anyone we know has left this life.

At the same time we’re reluctant to contemplate our own mortality. We procrastinate in writing last wills and testaments, and cringe when thinking about making funeral arrangements in advance, as if delaying those steps could hold our own demise at bay.

But as someone has said, death is the great equalizer. It’s truly the one area in which “all men are created equal.” The mortality rate is 100 percent. It’s more certain than taxes – taxes have shelters, write-offs and deductions, but death has no such things.

So this time of year underscores a great biblical paradox: Receiving life through death.

We’re in the midst of Holy Week, highlighted by the traditional Good Friday observance and Easter celebration. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be the Son of God. And Easter marks the most improbable occurrence of all: His resurrection from the dead and subsequent appearance to hundreds of witnesses, spawning a spiritual movement that continues to multiply, transforming countless lives all around the globe.

Easter is easier to “get,” even without the Easter bunny, chocolate eggs and baby chicks. Good Friday, however, is more of a puzzle. I vividly remember attending a somber Good Friday service at my church as a boy. During the proceedings I asked my mother, “If this is the day Jesus was crucified, why do we call it Good Friday? What’s good about it?”

Lacking formal spiritual training, my mom deferred to “the reverend,” who after the service stood at the door shaking hands with departing congregants. I asked him the same question. As I recall he mumbled something but offered little in response. (As you might surmise, it wasn’t a Southern Baptist church.)

I concluded if the minister – a professional religious person – didn’t know the answer, who would? So my question about the basis for “Good” Friday remained unanswered into my college years and beyond. It didn’t dominate my thoughts, but certainly didn’t seem to make sense.

Then, many years later, I learned the answer. Jesus’ physical death on the cross, described by many as the most excruciating form of execution ever devised, was not “good.” But its purpose and ramifications for humanity certainly were.

Mankind had an insurmountable problem then, as it does today: Sin. Literally it means “missing the mark,” where God’s standard of perfection is non-negotiable. In response to this problem, Jesus came not only to teach and serve as an example, but also to provide the solution. Romans 5:8 states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” To use a theological term, Jesus became the atonement for our sins. Or to use a more common term of the recent past, He took the rap for us.

But this is where it gets really interesting. It’s more than having sins forgiven and gaining the promise of life after death, even though those are wonderful promises in themselves. The Bible teaches followers of Christ also receive life before death. That’s what Jesus was referring to when He told the Pharisee Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:3-8).

I’ll not attempt to delve much deeper. Hundreds of books have been devoted to expositions on this concept of being “born again” and its significance, both for this life and the next. But I believe it’s the linchpin of the Christian faith, perhaps the singular distinctive between it and all other belief systems. Sadly, it’s an understanding many followers of Christ never fully grasp. As a result, instead of experiencing “victory in Jesus,” they feel defeated, struggling constantly to live a life that’s impossible in their own strength.

Two verses helped to hammer home this truth for me about 30 years ago. One states, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). The other, 2 Corinthians 5:17, says much the same, only in a different way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

For many of us, everyday experience says those verses doesn’t make sense. We’re only human, right? Nobody’s perfect. That’s true, of course, but sinful, ungodly behavior need no longer be the “default setting” for those who have received Christ and know Him as Savior and Lord.

One passage sums up this death-to-life perspective: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life…. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus… You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:4-18).

If you profess to know and follow Christ, but this has not been your experience, don’t take my word for it. What I think doesn’t matter. What matters is what God thinks. So I would strongly encourage you to read and re-read Romans 5-8 and ask God to enable you to understand its meaning in a practical, everyday sense. If you do, this Easter might be one you will never forget.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What’s God Got to Do With It?


There’s been considerable discussion about how – and even if – spiritual faith should intersect with how a privately owned company should be run. What's God got to do with it, right? The question has even reached the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I’m not the person to weigh in on this issue from a legal perspective, but a broader concern is involved here. We often hear religion or faith described as “personal,” as if it’s something to stored away and dragged out only at appointed times and special occasions. “Faith is faith, and work is work, and never the twain shall meet” seems what society would have us believe.

This type of thinking often manifests itself in all strata of society, including the Oval Office. When President Obama discusses issues of faith, he often uses the term “freedom of worship” rather than “freedom of religion.” This distinction is significant.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is very specific in guaranteeing freedom of religion, and to me this is very different from freedom of worship. In the minds of many, worship is an isolated religious activity, removed from the flow of everyday life. To them it takes place in a church, synagogue, temple, mosque or other worship center – set apart from daily realities.

An ornate cross on a tabletop or desk
might be reflective of one's belief,
but genuine faith requires action.
This might suffice as “religion” for some, but many people sincerely find their beliefs influencing every aspect of their lives. Frankly, I cringe when people call me “religious.” To me that sounds rigid and superficial. I prefer being considered very spiritual, my spirituality being informed by the Bible.

There was a time when I, too, confined my religious/spiritual activities to an hour or two on a Sunday, only to spend the rest of the day – and remainder of the week – living as if there were no God. I’d attend worship services, then get frustrated in the church parking lot because people in front of me were slow in exiting. They were making me late for the football game on TV!

Then a discovery transformed what I believed: God was not a deity who’s “out there,” distant and unknowable, but Someone desiring an up-close-and-personal relationship with me. This meant much more than having my sins forgiven and receiving the promise of eternal life. It meant a new way for living each day, gaining God’s power to pursue life as He desired. God didn’t just want a sliver of my life, an hour or two each week. He wanted all of me, including my work.

Years ago a friend introduced me to Acts 17:28 which states, “For in him (Jesus) we live and move and have our being.” This means more than having a different mindset; it also involves changing our “modus operandi” – our method of operation or way we do things.

One of the curious aspects of Westernized thinking is we can claim to believe one thing and then unapologetically act in contradiction to that belief. However, the Bible clearly teaches true belief means acting upon what you believe. “In the same way, faith by itself, if it not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17).

Over the years I’ve met hundreds of business and professional people, devoted followers of Jesus, whose thinking and actions are shaped by principles and truths they’ve learned in the Bible. They can’t separate their professional lives from their faith any more than they could remove their heads and continue walking.

The apostle Paul stated, “…I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This is true for every genuine follower of Jesus. Spiritually, His life is manifested in us and He affects every dimension of our being.

It’s not a matter of being “religious,” or of worship for that matter. It’s a matter of living out the values and convictions Christ has given us – and this includes the workplace, whether we’re business owners, top executives, or simply employees.

To do otherwise is truly hypocritical.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Little Bit of Knit-Picking


Years ago someone told me if you’re looking for a good proofreader, find someone who enjoys knitting or needlepoint. Typically, people engaged in these hobbies are patient and very detail-oriented, traits important for someone examining written content in search of typos, punctuation and grammar errors, as well as determining whether what they’re reading makes sense.

That’s why no one’s ever approached me about being a professional proofreader. Knitting and needlepoint never appealed to me. Patience? Nope, don’t have much of that. Detail-oriented? Not me. I’m a big-picture kind of person. The Birkman Method motivational assessment I took years ago pegged me as a global thinker, not linear. During my years as a magazine editor, I’d ask my administrative assistant to follow me and catch the things I was about to let fall through the cracks. If it’s true “the devil is in the details,” I’d probably never notice him.

So it intrigued me recently to read God apparently likes knitting. Psalm 139:13 states, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” What an interesting image – God knitting together a yet-to-be-born person, carefully and intimately addressing every single detail, much like a knitter deciding the placement of each strand of yarn, every loop as it intertwines with the next.

DNA contains the genetic code
that largely defines our physical
and mental makeup.
This got me thinking about DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), the genetic code that dictates our physical and mental makeup. My brown eyes and hair, gender, height, complexion, intellect, limited athletic ability, even predisposition to certain diseases, all were determined for me long before I burst from my mother’s womb into an unsuspecting world.

Despite not being a science expert in even the most generous sense, I’m fascinated by the two anti-parallel strands of DNA we see illustrated as an intricate, double-helix. Our wondrously complex DNA, organized into chromosomes within cells, and RNA, which interprets the genetic coding, determine so much of who we are and what we do. This seems nothing short of amazing.

Today we hear animated discussions about the human genome, the focus of highly talented geneticists seeking to understand the how’s, what’s and why’s of existence at human and other levels. What mysteries and surprises await discovery in the coming years as these microscopic explorations continue?

I’m sure the psalmist had no comprehension of the invisible-to-the-naked-eye, molecular world that captivates so many researchers today. But imagine God as described, lovingly and meticulously “knitting” us in pre-born form, using DNA as His “yarn” of choice.

Whether this is actually the way it works, or whether God created genetic coding as His methodology for assembling one generation after another, is a question we can’t answer. For nonbelievers, the mere suggestion of this sounds ridiculous. Genes, DNA, molecular constructs and everything else – from their perspective – are simply parts of the scientifically interpreted processes that function autonomous of any divine oversight.

They can believe that if they want. That’s their right. But I’ll exercise my own right to attribute and appreciate DNA and the incredible, unique complexity of each human being as the work of a sovereign God, guided by His all-knowing and loving will.

As the next verses in the psalm declare, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body” (Psalm 139:14-16). I don't know about for you, but I find that extremely reassuring and comforting.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Receiving Through Giving


It's almost universal - everyone enjoys
receiving things. But are we as eager to give?
There’s not one of us that doesn’t like getting things. Christmas morning, waking up and going to see what’s in that brightly colored box with our name on it under the tree. On our birthday, getting gifts from friends and loved ones – just because we’ve aged a year. A surprise gift when there’s no special reason. Even people that don’t need anything like to receive things – Oprah; rich entertainers at annual awards shows, the President.

And our society teaches one of the secrets to happiness and security is accumulating stuff. We even spend money on insurance to make sure we don’t lose it – or at least are able to replace it. Years ago someone summed it up with this slogan: “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

So if the presumed key is to get things and hang onto them with all of our might, what’s with the biblical adage even people who’ve never read the Bible can repeat: “It is more blessed to give than receive”?

Yes, unlike “God helps those that help themselves” – which is found nowhere in the Scriptures – this admonition about giving actually is there. As the apostle Paul declared, In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' " (Acts 20:35).

This, as I noted several posts back, is another of the seeming paradoxes of biblical faith. In our materialistic culture, it might even be the greatest paradox of all. How can we gain if we choose to give away? How can you increase when you’re busy decreasing what you possess? But this principle is there, just the same. And it’s frequently reaffirmed.

Speaking to a large crowd of people gathered around Him, Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38).

He was saying then – and still says today – if we give, freely and generously from the heart, we’ll not lack for anything. God will more than supply what we need. There’s one caveat: Our giving should be without reservation.

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).

But it’s more than being assured if we give to help others in whatever way we’re impressed to do so, we’ll not be left destitute ourselves. There’s the intangible joy and fulfillment we receive in being used as an instrument for assisting others in need.

I’ve experienced this not only in giving money and goods, but in investing time and energy in mentoring others, helping them to grow professionally, personally and spiritually, and being a resource for them as they work through various problems and issues in their lives. Volunteering in other ways can provide the same sense of gratification.

In fact, this giving of ourselves is probably the greatest of all forms of giving. We might not all have the same incomes, bank accounts or portfolios, but we all have the same 24 hours each day, seven days a week. How we use that time is a strong indicator of whether we’re self-focused or others-oriented.

The same holds true for God, the greatest giver of all. John 3:16, which most of us are at least somewhat familiar with, states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That is the consummate definition of giving.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What’s That Smell?


Take a moment and think about your favorite smell. In your imagination, take a long sniff. Is it bacon? The fragrance of a rose? Freshly baked pecan or cherry pie? The scent of a particular kind of perfume?

For me, nearly 40 years after my mom’s passing, I can still remember the smell of her unbelievably delicious Hungarian nut roll baking in the oven, the crushed walnuts mixed with sugar and lemon rind to comprise the pasty filling inside the delicate dough turning a golden brown. It only happened around the Christmas season, so that aroma was extra-special.

The nose knows what it knows - and remembers.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, one of the most revered Supreme Court justices, observed, “Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.”

For years after I broke up with my first girlfriend back in high school, whenever I caught a whiff of a certain brand of cologne, thoughts of her would come to my mind. As Justice Holmes correctly noted, our olfactory system – sense of smell – does wonders for the memory.

The point is, although most of us are very visual – men even more than most women – and we rely greatly on our sense of hearing as well, our sense of smell exerts considerable influence on our thoughts and emotions.

Before you get lost on a fragrant stroll down memory lane, let’s shift gears. Now, think of some repulsive, repugnant odors that particularly bothered you. Maybe a too-long hidden “treasure” in the back of your refrigerator comes to mind. Or a rotten potato forgotten at the bottom of a storage bin. Or a particularly pungent diaper produced by an infant nearby.

I’ve never been thrilled about going into florist shops because the smell of multiple varieties of flowers, although not unpleasant, always reminds me of a funeral home. If you enjoy visiting a florist, that’s fine. Just don’t invite me to tag along. Maybe you’re that way when you smell certain foods, cooked liver or cabbage perhaps?

Whatever negative odors come to your mind, this second assortment of “memories” elicits an entirely different set of reactions, doesn’t it? If you’re still meandering down memory lane, watch where you step!

Interestingly, God uses this reality as an analogy for an important spiritual truth. Have you ever wondered why the gospel of Jesus Christ seems so inviting and appealing to some people, while others find it repulsive and offensive? The apostle Paul explains it this way:

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).

What an odd thought: Jesus being “the fragrance of life” to those who are being redeemed and forgiven for their sins, but “the smell of death” for those that reject Him.

This isn’t to imply in any sense that those who profess Christ as Savior and Lord are better or superior to those who don’t believe. In fact, to turn one’s life over to Him is a humbling experience of recognizing our own unworthiness, our utter spiritual bankruptcy before the God of the universe. It cuts against the grain of human pride and self-sufficiency to respond to Jesus’ claim of being “the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

But as His followers, we bear the responsibility of making certain if people turn away from Jesus, it’s Him they are rejecting and not a skewed, offensive caricature of Him we present.

Frankly, I’ve been around some people quick to define themselves as “Christians” who were pretty “smelly,” but not in the way the apostle Paul described. More than once I’ve thought how glad I was to have already known Jesus personally before I met them. Otherwise, I might have received the wrong impression, one that wouldn’t have drawn me closer to Him.

The Bible describes Jesus as A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:8). For some He will be offensive, the “smell of death,” even though He is so attractive for others. In our efforts to express to friends, family members, neighbors and colleagues at work what He means to us and what He could mean for them, we should make every effort to ensure if there’s an offense to be taken, they’re truly offended by Him – and not by us as poor, inaccurate reflections of who He is.

We’re called to “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15), but not to make a big stink about it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Suggestions for ‘My Brother’s Keeper’


Recently President Obama announced his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, aimed at helping young minority men – particularly African-Americans and Hispanics – overcome formidable challenges. He’s recruiting a number of prominent minority leaders to become part of this effort.

I commend this emphasis since the President, our first non-white Chief Executive, has much to offer, not only from the clout of his office but also from personal experience. In announcing his plans, Obama stated, “By almost any measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century, in this country, are boys and young men of color.”

Statistics would bear this out. On average, black and Hispanic boys trail young white boys markedly in reading skills by the time they reach the fourth grade. Each year, young blacks and Hispanics comprise approximately half of the nation’s murder victims. And collectively, blacks and Hispanics make up nearly 60 percent of the U.S. prison rolls, while their ethnic groups total only one-quarter of the general population.

My Brother’s Keeper sounds like a long-overdue idea. I’m wondering, however, what message the President and others plan to use for motivating these boys and young men to achieve better lives. I’m privileged to have several African-American men as friends, so I have some understanding of the challenges they’ve faced and overcome.

The President hasn’t asked me, but I have a few ideas for him and the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force to offer the young men:

·       Learn to read, and read to learn. Whether reading books, magazines, newspapers, or content on the Internet, there’s a limitless wealth of information and knowledge readily available to help in pursuing one’s dreams and aspirations.
·       Take responsibility for your actions. If you’re in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people, don’t expect anything good to happen. Life is a series of choices, and if you make the right choices, good things will follow. “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
·       Don’t be a victim. Over the past few decades, someone decided it’s a good idea to blame failures on somebody else, rather than mustering the initiative to use failure as a teaching tool for learning how to succeed. I know many people who refused to be victims, regardless of their circumstances, and as a result have achieved much success.
·       Young women are not sex toys. Too often young men of any ethnicity treat sex as mere recreation, failing to respect the young women they are with and value them as real people with real needs and real feelings. When the Bible talks about women being “the weaker vessel,” (1 Peter 3:7), it’s not a put-down. It’s no more demeaning than saying exquisite crystal or fine china is weaker than an iron skillet or sledgehammer.
·       If you have sex and father a child, be a father to that child. Statistics tell us about three-fourths of black children are growing up in single-parent, female-led homes. Women are doing incredible jobs in trying to care for and nurture their children, but as in any endeavor, the job is much easier when there are two to share in the duties and responsibilities. As the Bible says, “Two are better than one, they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). When God said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone,” I’m certain He was thinking the same about women.
·       Don’t expect the world to do for you what you can – and should – do for yourself. An entitlement mentality has invaded our times, people looking to government and society to provide for their needs and wants. And then they become angry because their expectations aren’t met. Why wait for someone to do what’s in your capacity to do on your own? “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).
·       The path to success doesn’t pass only through pro sports and recording studios. Only an infinitesimal percentage of minority young men will even get a taste of the NFL, NBA, Major League baseball or entertainment world. Yet those that attain those levels often are built up as role models. Why not spotlight accomplished minority men in far more accessible professions – physicians and nurses, attorneys, entrepreneurs, business executives, retail managers, educators, tradesmen, engineers, scientists, and others? Dr. Ben Carson, who overcame extreme poverty to become a renowned neurosurgeon, is one glowing example. But of course, he’s politically conservative, so I suppose that would disqualify him from President Obama’s consideration.

We all have a unique purpose and design, given by God, and we each should pursue it. “For you created my inmost being…. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). I hope the President’s initiative can be a big step in pointing deserving young men toward discovering how they can achieve fulfilling, meaningful lives and careers – what God has intended for them all along.

I’m certain we could think of some other suggestions as well, but these would be a good start. Yes, many of them have a biblical basis – but that shouldn’t justify dismissing them. After all, “my brother’s keeper” comes from the Bible, too (Genesis 4:9).