Looking back on a long and somewhat unusual and adventurous life, one of the most important things for me is not how much money I have in the bank, how many of my goals I accomplished etc. No, when you become old it’s important that you have a peace with yourself, to look back and know you did the best you could. You may not always have gotten it right, but you tried. That you might have blown it a lot of times but you didn’t chicken out or pull your punches, that you lived in integrity as much as you were able.
These things bring peace in old age. I know some who do not have this peace, though they have been forgiven they find it hard to forgive themselves. We tend to lose our critics along the path of life, but our own heart ever holds the mirror.
“Owe no man anything save to love him.” I’ve always applied this quote to financial matters but this morning I realised that there’s far more to it than that. It actually makes a great maxim for life! So often we do things because of what others will think, or how they’ll react, living life with one eye on the mirror.
So is the opposite true that we should live purely for ourselves oblivious to the concerns of others? Surely not!
The simple truth “owe no man” perfectly clarifies the balance. To have integrity, be in bondage to no man (particularly where our principals are concerned) but to walk in love towards others, is a difference of motivation. Is our concern out of fear or compassion?
An illustration was when one of my daughters was promoted to a position she’d always wanted but found to her concern that the new job entailed being deceptive and going against her conscience. Thanks to great courage and faith on her part (and a very supportive, business minded spouse) she decided to quit the job and set up on her own. Her integrity paid off and they now have a thriving business which is constantly expanding.
Three of my children have been blessed with ample financial resources, but only she comes home tired, but stress free, finding great fulfillment in her work. The difference? – She “owes no man”.