When I speak to groups, I tell stories of my adventures as an entrepreneur, a mountaineer, and as a wilderness explorer. No story draws more interest than the story of my search for Noah’s Ark. People often ask me how I got involved with something as ambitious as a search for the Ark. It all started with my parent’s Legacy of Words.
I think back fondly on those quite evenings when my lights went out in that small house in southern Arkansas. The windows stayed open on those summer nights so I could fall asleep to the crickets chirping. Frequently, my mom would sit on the side of my bed to say goodnight. She had those magic fingernails that brought chill bumps as she ran her hands through my hair. More times than I can remember she put me to sleep with these words, “God made you special. You’re going to do great things.”
Dad was a perfectionist. His words were more like a kick in the rear. Occasionally, he would ask me to clean the garage. That meant take everything out of the garage, wipe down all the walls, sweep the floor, wash things off with a hose, and then put it all back in an orderly fashion. Inevitably, I would rush through the process and sneak back inside trying not to draw his attention. A few minutes later I would hear that voice raised loud. “Boy, get out here!” He would walk me around the garage while pointing out my shortcomings. Then he would hand me back the broom and leave me with these words, “Don’t quit son. Finish well.”
So often in my life when I have faced a challenge, considered an ambitious opportunity, or contemplated quitting when all the evidence seemed stacked against me; I hear those Legacy of Words, “God made you special. You’re going to do great things. Don’t quit son. Finish well.”
Those words have pushed me toward challenges and opportunities I never dreamed could be reality; opportunities like owning my own business, pursuing mountaineering, writing a book, and even searching for the final resting place of Noah’s Ark. Those words have kept me fighting through harsh conditions at 17,000 feet on Mount Ararat, just like they have helped me press through financial challenges and personal trials that many thought would sink me. I’m so grateful for their Legacy of Words.
The bible speaks to this in Hebrews 10:24-25. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.
Have you considered what your Legacy of Words will be? Will you be known as the guy who people loved to talk to because you brought inspiration, encouragement, and positive insight? Or will people remember you as critical, discouraging, and harsh? I challenge you. Begin helping people up their mountains. Be an ambitious encourager, and spur people on with your Legacy of Words.