King of the Forest

What makes a King out of a slave? Courage.

What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?

What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.

That is courage according to the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

At this month’s company meeting, we learned about the character quality of courage, which was extremely inspiring to me. Bringing faith into the equation reminded me of the difference between my life now and my life “before.”

Before, I was arrogant. My arrogance was rooted in trusting in myself for the skills, resources, and intelligence to solve whatever problem or reach whatever goal.

Before, I needed attention and praise to prop up my sense of worth. I relied on what others thought of me to create my identity, and that drove much of my behavior and created most of my motivation.

Before, I was afraid. My fear was based on my internal knowledge that I would eventually fail to achieve the next bigger-and-better thing, and then everyone would know I was a fraud who didn’t really have all the answers.

People without faith often lack courage, but they replace it with other things, such as arrogance, fear, procrastination, making excuses, quitting, or seeking attention. These can be indicators of a lack of faith and, therefore, a lack of courage.

It is possible to have faith in many things.

We can have faith in systems and in the mechanical world around us. Most people have faith that an elevator will safely move them from floor to floor or that an airplane will not fall out of the sky.

We can have faith in the people we live and work with. We trust the people around us to behave in predictable and generally beneficial ways. We also trust that if we really needed help, someone would lend a hand.

Those are necessary and beneficial types of faith. Kimray should be a place where we trust the systems and processes and people. We must also be the kind of people who create and maintain that trust.

We can take responsibility for our actions without making excuses. We can resolve to try again when we fail and learn from our mistakes. We can step into needs and opportunities. We can be quick to recognize the contributions of others and slow to take credit for ourselves. We can be proactive and decisive when we know something must get done. We can avoid being judgmental and give grace and support instead.

Ultimately though, human effort and faith in this world will fail. Eventually, we will be faced with something we cannot see around. An obstacle too big to comprehend. A tragedy too great to bear. Then the object of our faith becomes critical. Faith in ourselves, in others, or in things will not carry us through. Only faith in God can.

Faith is not knowledge; it is action. If I say I have faith in that airplane but refuse to get on board, I am lying. If I say I have faith in God and then fail to rest in the truth that he is in control, I am missing the life I was promised.

I want to encourage you to be courageous through faith. Faith in God, not in ourselves or our systems. Faith that the God who created the universe also created you. Faith that God loves you and will always be with you.

I tried to be “god” for a good portion of my life. I was terrible at it. Today, I would much rather trust the real God than myself or even you. Ironically, when I really trust God, I learn how to trust you too.

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