This is how a communist explained the success of his ‘religion’: ‘Of salaries and wages we keep only what is strictly necessary, and we give up our free time and part of our holidays …. How can anybody believe in the supreme value of the [Christian] gospel if you do not practice it, if you do not spread it, if you sacrifice neither time nor money for it? We believe in our communist message and we are ready to sacrifice even our life. But you people are afraid to soil your hands.’
Quoted from Through the Year with David Watson p318
For many years Admiral Hyman Rickover was the head of the United State Nuclear Navy. His admirers and his critics held strongly opposing views about the stern and demanding Admiral. For many years every officer aboard a nuclear submarine was personally interviewed and approved by Rickover. Those who went through those interviews usually came out shaking with fear, anger or total intimidation. Among them was Ex-President Jimmy Carter who, years ago, applied for service under Rickover.
This is his account of a Rickover interview:
I had applied for the Nuclear Submarine Program, and Admiral Rickover was interviewing me for the job. It was the first time I met Admiral Rickover, and we sat in a large room by ourselves for more than two hours, and he let me choose any subjects I wished to discuss. Very carefully, I chose those about which I knew most at the time, current events, seamanship, music, literature, naval tactics, electronics, gunnery, and he began to ask me a series of questions of increasing difficulty. In each instance, he soon proved that I knew relatively little about the subject I had chosen. He always looked right into my eyes, and he never smiled. I was saturated with cold sweat.
Finally, he asked a question and I thought I could redeem myself. He said, “How did you stand in your class at the Naval Academy?” Since I had completed my Sophomore year at Georgia Tech before entering Annapolis as a Pleb, I had done very well and I swelled my chest with pride and answered “Sir, I stood fifty-ninth in a class of 820!” I sat back to wait for the congratulations which never came. Instead the question came. “Did you do your best?” I started to say, “Yes, sir”, but I remembered who this was and recalled several of the many times at the Academy when I could have learned more about our allies, our enemies, weapons, strategy, and so forth. I was just human. I finally gulped and said, “No, sir, I didn’t always do my best.”
He looked at me for a long time, and then turned his chair around to end the interview. He asked one final question, which I have never been able to forget or to answer. He said, “Why not?” I sat there for a while shaken, and then slowly left the room.
Graham Twelvetree in Get The Point Across p34-35
It’s a fascinating story that comes out of the 1989 earthquake which almost flattened Armenia. This deadly tremor killed over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion of the earthquake, a father rushed to his son’s school. When he arrived there he discovered the building was flat as a pancake.
Standing there looking at what was left of the school, the father remembered a promise he made to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” Tears began to fill his eyes. It looked like a hopeless situation, but he could not take his mind off his promise.
Remembering that his son’s classroom was in the back right corner of the building, the father rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging other grieving parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: “My son! “My daughter!” They tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying: “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!” Even a police officer and a fire-fighter told him he should go home. To everyone who tried to stop him he said, “Are you going to help me now?” They did not answer him and he continued digging for his son stone by stone.
He needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?” This man dug for eight hours and then twelve and then twenty-four and then thirty-six. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, “ARMAND!” and a voice answered him, “Dad?” It’s me Dad!”
Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told ’em that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ And here you are Dad. You kept your promise!”
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
In the second century, a Christian businessman went to Tertullian and explained his problem. He had been contracted to provide materials for a pagan temple. The man ended his story by saying to Tertullian, “What can I do? I must live!”
Tertullian replied “Must you?”
Graham Twelvetree in Drive The Point Home p42
D. L. Moody was visiting a prominent Chicago citizen when the idea of church membership and involvement came up.
“I believe I can be just as good a Christian outside the church as I can be inside it,” the man said.
Moody said nothing. Instead, he moved to the fireplace, blazing against the winter outside, removed one burning coal, and placed it on the hearth.
The two men sat together and watched the ember die out.
“I see,” the other man said.
Keith Long, Room to Grow (Hendrickson, 1999), quoted in Men of Integrity (3.2)