The following post is a wonderful contribution by my husband, Ryan Bennett.
These are words to live by in an ever changing and controversial world. Though, admittedly difficult to carry out for an introvert…which I am. But as the Romans used to say: “The spoken word is fleeting, but the written one is eternal.” Thus, I write. I write about what matters to me. What matters to me is not necessarily what matters to others, but I am not concerned about what matters to the world. What is literature if not what matters to the author? I write in hopes that in my words your perception of what matters will be forever changed. These are the things that matter.
Above all, God matters. In all things, at all times, in all circumstances, in all places, God matters. In my family, in my social circle, in my job, in my interests, in all aspects of my life, God matters. Living out this truth in every waking moment matters. As it was once said, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” ~ Mother Teresa.
Second only to God, family is all we truly have. How you treat your family reflects your character. Your character is who you are when no one is looking. Who does your family see in you? Do they see God? Do they see someone living as if Jesus with skin on? If they do, so too will others. In 1 Corinthians 13, we are given insight into Heaven in the words “but then I will know just as I am known”, indicating we shall see others in Heaven as we knew them here on earth. Family, also, is eternal. I know I can love them best if I love God most.
All human interaction is some type of relationship, no matter the purpose, how brief, or how long. The second greatest commandment given by God is this: “ Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-38. The saying “You become who you associate with” is absolutely false. Jesus surrounded himself and associated with sinners and outcasts, but He changed them. Be to your friends and neighbors who you want them to be to you and to others. Never meet a stranger. Show love by showing kindness. Be the change you want to see in the world. “If I have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13.
The Bible is the only source of absolute infallible and inerrant truth. It is the standard by which all things can be measured. By it alone, seek the truth in all things, and never stop seeking it. Read, listen, discuss, question, and learn. You will find nothing in this life that does not relate to some Biblical principle. Be honest and speak the truth always, even if you are alone. I have found that most of the truths I believe in and live by are vastly different than those of the world. The farther away the world drifts from the truth, the more they will not want to hear it. I would rather disappoint people by being authentic than to join them with a façade and live a lie.
Hard Work Matters
“Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meloriem.” Latin for: “What man is a man who does not make the world a better place.” I grew up going to work with my dad in the oilfield, working out in the yard, and maintaining my grandparent’s farm. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than using your own two hands to achieve something great. I also believe, through hard work, one can learn most of the important life lessons they would need to be successful in their relationships, their careers, and their marriage. You reap what you sow. Go beyond the call in any aspect of life, and you will most assuredly see positive return. Another favorite quote of mine, this one a Jewish Proverb: “Ask not for a light burden, but for broad shoulders.”
I am a medical professional with a doctorate in physical therapy. All else aside, if you want a long and healthy life, exercise and eat wholesome food, period. Poor nutrition (both what you are eating and what is actually within the food you are eating) is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and all those other top killers you hear about. Lack of physical activity and exercise is a close second. Rick Warren, a famous pastor, said this of our bodies: “God created it. Jesus died for it. The Holy Spirit lives within it. I had better take care of it.” Eat clean, exercise, sleep adequately, drink water, relax and de-stress, be happy and positive, and let a PT help you work out the kinks 😉 Set precedence for your family . By doing this, you will be saving your life, and theirs.
“To know is to know that you know nothing.” ~ Socrates. We are born ignorant. Society tells us to learn through higher education, which is beneficial without a doubt, but only a part of the vast realm of learning. Learn by experience. Be hands on by doing. Experience is the greatest teacher. Read, read, and then read some more. Learn how to better serve God, to be a better husband, to be a better father, to do better in your job, to take care of your home, to take care of yourself, and to understand the world around you. For the first time in history we have all of the vast wealth of human knowledge and experience at the click of a button. Take advantage.
These are the values I strive to live by. I believe all facets of life fall under one of these categories. Stand upright for the intangible things that matter. Hold onto and defend them in earnest. Money, objects, jobs, hobbies, fame, sports, politics, and all else will wane in time and pale in comparison to these things. Be grateful and content with what you do have and be discerning in how you live and spend your time. Do not neglect the opportunity you are given in this life to live with the potential you are given and according to the calling for which you were created. Make a positive difference in people’s lives. Finally, always remember: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” ~ Colossians3:17. After all, God matters, and without Him nothing else would.