We can be better than this



Is this the best we can be?

There are times when we are challenged as a nation—a people—to look beyond our own individual self-interests. I am reflecting on this point as the “gun control” conversation swirls around us.

During my lifetime, these moments of reflection have come as the result of someone dying. The deaths of Franklin RooseveltJohn KennedyBobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King are points in time that have become permanent fixtures in my mind.

There are times when we are challenged as families to look beyond ourselves. These too often come as the result of a death. I think of the passing of my mother, father, and brother, as well as uncles, aunts, and cousins.

During the shock, pain, and sadness, I (maybe all of us) allow my mind to drift towards the meaning of these lives. Not only the meaning but also the guiding principles for the future that their lives suggest. Roosevelt’s, the Kennedy’s, and Martin Luther King’s prompt personal courage in the face of major challenges. Examples closer to home include my mother’s admonition to ‘love and forgive,’ and my Dad’s creative energy and unrelenting commitment to ‘make it better.’ My brother’s life (he died of AIDS) prompted a deeper understanding of the need to persevere.

The more recent shooting deaths across our country prompt reflections that involve social issues and questions that start with “How could … ?”

When Obama stated “We can be better than this,” I echo “Right on.”

Regardless of what you think of his politics, you cannot doubt the value of this very human question each of us must reflect and ask: “Am I contributing to the better?” “Am I sitting on the sidelines?” Or maybe “Am I part of the problem?” President Kennedy’s inaugural challenge to all of us is part of our National heritage: “Ask not … but what you can do for your country!

It seems—after 7 decades of life—that a key question posed by Martin Luther King is very relevant. He said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”

These penetrating questions about life are independent of politics and cut to the very heart of “Being Human.”

As followers of Jesus, we are challenged to be “better” and to be thankful. When we are not thankful, and our “humanness” takes over, Grace is sufficient. We see this desire to be “better” played out in one of life’s great learning laboratories, developing a Future Funded Ministry. In this laboratory, we have the challenge of a lifetime: creating a financial base from which we can truly experience a Lifetime of Service. A Lifetime of Service that allows us to decide how much better we can be, and to whom we are going to minister, to serve. The Future Funded Retirement Plan provides the freedom to “be better” by doing better.

One of our Plan Sponsors recently asked me, “What is the most important reason for having a retirement plan?” My answer? “We demonstrate our love for God by preparing for—and then choosing to—serve others for a lifetime. That is the heart of Future Funded Ministry.”

We can all be better. Here is one formula: A good plan. A little help. Persistent effort. And a lot of prayer. Join me in the endeavor?

Let me know your thoughts and comments. Our dialogue continues.

Living with Trusted Advice together,


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