Indeed, it is the deed…

February 9, 2022

Although I saw today’s quote recently on-line somewhere, I’m sure that it has been used in the Jack’s Winning Words blog, probably more than once.

 “The smallest deed is better than the grandest intention.” – Anonymous

I have also mentioned here before that one of my mother’s oft used phrases was, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” She would have agreed that the road to hell should probably be called ‘Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda Lane”.

Inaction is often the path of least resistance and one too often chosen by many. For most the underlying cause is fear – fear of real or imagined negative or dangerous outcomes or fear of failure if we try. But surrendering to fear steals our lives away and we become zombies (the living dead). Early Twentieth Century reporter and author Dorothy Thompson put it this way – “Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”

We should not become content with ourselves if we know that something is wrong and do nothing about it. We do not have to try to single handedly conquer the worlds big problems – hunger, wars, disease, poverty and the like; however, we can act as an individual on any of them by supporting the big efforts that are already underway through organizations like The U.N. or The Red Cross or W.H.O. At a small. Local level there are any number of worthy Go Fund Me drives underway at any time and lots of local volunteer non-profits in need of help. You don’t have to be rich to make an impact locally where your volunteer time is often the most needed resource.

Sometimes it is just acting on your concerns or what you observe that can make a dramatic difference. Think how many recent tragedies might have been averted had someone who noticed a troubled person’s distress had acted to help them or get them help before they acted on their troubled state. Being more aware of your surroundings and the signed that are there as calls for help could make a huge difference in things like domestic violence or human trafficking.

Most people have good intentions, but their comfort zone keeps them on Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda Lane instead of taking action to implement those intentions. Keep in mind that the size of the response based upon those intentions is not as important as actually taking the first steps to implement those intentions. Maybe keeping the Nike slogan – Just Do It – in mind will help or maybe remember those little WWJD bracelets from the 1990’s.

From Wikipedia – The phrase “What would Jesus do?”, often abbreviated to WWJD, became popular particularly in the United States in the late 1800s after the widely read book by Charles Sheldon entitled, In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do. The phrase had a resurgence in the US and elsewhere in the 1990s and as a personal motto for adherents of Christianity who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents.

I’m pretty sure that Jesus would not have let himself be trapped on Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda Lane and neither should you let yourself be trapped there either. Even your smallest deed to act on those good intentions is better than wishing later that you had acted.

Indeed, it is the deed. Just do it.


Know it or believe it…just do something with it.

February 27, 2021

A quote from an unknown source was used by Pastor Freed in one of his recent posts to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“It’s not what you know, but what you do with what you know.”  (Unknown)

There’s certainly a whole riff that could be written about putting your knowledge to use, but when I saw that quote I mentally substituted the word “believe” for the word “know” and thought about what it is that I can do to turn my beliefs, my faith, into action. What “something” can I do with it.

One does not have to stand on soap box on a street corner preaching to no one in particular to demonstrate and live their faith. In fact, I think many of those who do that are still trying to convince themselves of their beliefs as much as anything. How many times have we seen stories of the famous TV evangelists being carted off to jail or disgraced in public for their actions and not their words?

The easiest way to put your faith into action and perhaps influence others to the same path is to live your life as an example of that faith. Not judging others (lest you be judged), being kind and caring and doing the right things when faced with decisions. On the surface, that may seem to be a rather off-handed way of looking at things, but it requires a conscious effort to think about your decisions in the light of your faith.

Many people used to wear those little rubber or metal bands with WWJD embossed or printed on them – What Would Jesus Do. That was a great memory device that caused one to stop and think before acting. I don’t see many of those wrist bands around anymore, but that thought and that pause to think is needed more now than ever.

Faith is just one of the touchstones available to us for grounding our thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, there are also things like prejudice, hate and indifference available as alternative approaches to decision making. The appeal of these alternatives is most often that they are easier to implement than the love, caring and acceptance of others that faith requires. It is easier to turn one’s back on the poor, homeless beggar than to take the time to help. It is easier to dismiss the person of different color or appearance out of prejudice than to take the time to get to know them. Look at your wrist. WWJD?

So, it is not enough to just profess your faith, one must put that faith into action, to let it influence and lead your actions – to do something with it. The “something” that your faith drives you to do does not always have to involve dramatic actions, but it should always be actions that demonstrate the answer to the question that you stopped and ask yourself.  WWJD? You don’t need to wear a bracelet with that question on it; just keep that question rattling around in the back of your mind as you go through your day and let it stop you so that you can think about the answer to that question.

Perhaps one can add to their morning prayers a simple thought – “Lord let me live my life today to reflect your glory in the decisions that I make.” Then ask yourself WWJD and get on with your day.

Have a great day of demonstrating your faith through the living of your life. Keep looking at your wrist and asking the question. WWJD?


Change your future today…

September 2, 2015

“Nothing we do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.”  ― Ashleigh Brilliant

It certainly does no good to wallow in the past, especially if you use that as an excuse to do nothing in the present. afraidBetter that you should start changing your future by doing things today. Start by doing a quick and honest assessment of where you are today (not how you got there). Consider what are the issues or challenges that you face today and what do you need to do about them? Break bigger challenges down into smaller pieces or steps that you can take, one at a time, prioritize those small steps and then step off – start doing.

You will find that, even if you don’t initially realize it, in the doing you forget to spend time thinking about what’s passed. You are busy making your future. And when you get done with each task, take George C.  Marshall’s advice –

“When a thing is done, it’s done.  Don’t look back.  Look forward to your next objective.” 

 The advice of both Brilliant and Marshall look to the future, rather than the past. Brilliant seems to be more the dreamer and Marshall the more pragmatic, but both are heading you in the same direction – your future.

That is another important thing to keep in mind and one that I’ve written about her in the past – there is always a future. Every event in life that I spent time dreading and overthinking came and went without the apocalyptic end that I had imagined. Yes, some of them were painful, either emotionally or physically, but they passed and I was still there; life goes on and I was still standing. You will be, too. You will also learn that the solution to life’s disappointments, pains and trials is not to be found in a bottle or a pill, but within you and through actions.

Bottom line – you have a future and what that future is will change, depending upon what you start making it be today.  Here’s another  thought to get you started –

“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”  ― John Guare

Finally, for those afraid of the future, there is help within your faith –  me

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  ― Corrie ten Boom

You can change your future today with a simple little prayer – “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Now that’s doing something about your future!