Wednesday, July 16, 2008
What are you prepared to do?
I talked to my sister Karen recently about our goals and she quoted a line from “The Untouchables.” In her best (which I’m sorry, sis, is not great) Sean Connery accent she told me, “Robbie, what are you prepared to do?”
(This is what Sean Connery as a beat cop, asked Kevin Costner as Elliot Ness.)
I keep thinking of that line. What am I prepared to do? God has given me a dream, a vision of my life and what I can be. But He has made it clear that the dream will not be handed to me on a platter. I am not going to win any lottery. I am not going to be a best selling author overnight. I will not wake up tomorrow miraculously in shape and thinner. So therefore, what am I prepared to do? Do, as in actions. Not dreaming or making lists or talking about how great it will be. But doing!
Last week, I visited the Shrine of Democracy. This is the nickname for Mount Rushmore. Quite a thrill to gaze up and see the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln keeping watch over the country. I can be cynical when it comes to patriotism, but standing below these forefathers of our country my cynicism vanished. Go USA!
We rented the audio tour and passed it around as we walked the half mile President’s walk, a little hike that gives different views of Mount Rushmore as well as provides little stops where you can listen to the audio commentary and learn all sorts of facts.
• Borglum, the man who sculpted the model and took charge of the project, chose the place and the four presidents.
• It took 400 men and 12 years to complete.
• Theodore Roosevelt was the most controversial choice, but Borglum insisted that Roosevelt, his friend, deserved the honor for his development efforts with the Panama Canal and his major work in conservation.
• The Black Hills, though granite, are seen as black because of the black trees gracing their slopes, not because of the rock.
What stood out to me the most were 1) the process and 2) the reasons behind the choices for the four presidents.
The process consisted of the following:
• Borglum’s vision and sculpting a model
• A brilliant mind doing the math
• A “pointer” going on the mountain and marking it using the math
• Many men drilling holes using the marks
• Many men putting dynamite in holes and blasting away
• More men using jack hammers and chisels to carve the likenesses
• Finally, men polishing it all up
What were they prepared to do? Every time any man went up on the mountain, they trusted their life to 1920s cables and other men. They risked their lives to carve faces into a mountain.
They were prepared to do the work, the difficult time-consuming work for the sake of Borglum’s vision.
No instant gratification. No short term results. Just hard work based on vision.
The four presidents were chosen based on four principles each man represented in building our country.
George Washington – The Birth of our nation
Thomas Jefferson – The Growth of our nation
Theodore Roosevelt – The Conservation of our nation
Abraham Lincoln – The Preservation of our nation
What were they prepared to do? WHATEVER IT TOOK.
God can use anything to teach us and propel us to become more of what He wants us to be. He used Mount Rushmore and my sister to give me perspective and a much needed kick in the pants.
See, He has given me a vision of my own mountain. My life, my dream. An art work that He, the ultimate artist/sculptor has already fashioned for me. The model for my dream is finished. But it is up to me to do the work for His vision to become reality in my life. I must do the math and drill and explode for Christ. It is up to me to work through the birth of ideas, the growth of my writing, the conservation of my talent and the preservation of my faith.
What am I prepared to do? Am I prepared to have no instant gratification? To risk my security? To work long hard hours with no short term results?
I hope I am. I want to be.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Perseverance. Am I prepared to persevere?
What about you? What is the vision God has given you? What are you prepared to do?