“The actions you take simply serve as the tangible evidence of what you believe.” – Simon Sinek
A few years ago, I was involved in an exercise at OMS Global Headquarters. Part of our exercise was to discuss what the founder of our organization, Charles Cowman, believed—what was his ‘why.’ We discussed the actions Cowman had taken to lead our organization in those early years, and what we can discern from those actions. I must say that the conclusions were rather inspiring, but I’ll leave those for another day. Instead, I want to consider what we believe. Further, what are we willing to do about what we believe? And what will we sacrifice for what we believe. In the end, our beliefs have to be proven through our actions, don’t they?
It’s only when we really pay a price for our beliefs that we see our truly deeply held convictions revealed. Charles Cowman left the security of a good job and family to go to the orient because he believed Japanese nationals could be trained to reach their own people. In turn of the 20th century America, this was a fairly progressive idea. Cowman’s mission ultimately shortened his life, which was a trade he was willing to make. It’s been said that until you have something worth dying for, you have nothing worth living for.
Yesterday we celebrated the anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. In 1956, Hungarians became weary of being oppressed by a global superpower, and attempted to wrestle freedom away from the firm grip of tyranny. Any objective observer at the time would have told you that a civilian revolution had little chance of being successful, yet the Hungarian freedom fighters gave their lives for the belief that Hungary should be free from Soviet control.
The West, which had promised so much to the Hungarians if they would stand and fight, largely backed away from promises made. Opening the Suez Canal and getting oil flowing again was a more critical global concern at the time. Hungary figured out pretty quickly that there would be no rescuer.
A few weeks into the revolution, Time Magazine declared the Hungarian Freedom Fighter “Man of the year” (truth be told, the freedom fighters were made up of men and women, young and old). The magazine sold thousands of copies, whilst the revolution raged on in Budapest’s neighborhoods. The Hungarians freedom fighters believed they should have control over their own destiny, so they fought on, they died, and they were eventually hunted down one by one by state security. Only a few lucky ones made it to Austria.
Our convictions drive us to action. How often do we see a real lack of conviction from our politicians, church leaders, our leaders at work, or at home? We hear the right things, but when the rubber meets the road, too often we just hear crickets.
Jesus once had a conversation with a rich ruler who asked him what it would take to enter heaven. The rich young man extolled his virtue and belief until Jesus told him to give his money away. Oh, how hard it is to be virtuous when it costs us something. The real belief of the young man was laid bare.
What do you believe? What are the unwavering, life-guiding beliefs that drive you, and do your actions confirm those in your life?
In 1956, Hungarian freedom fighters died for their convictions. In 1901, Charles Cowman went to Japan and gave years of his life for his calling. There are countless stories of people who have given their lives for a cause they can believe in, giving the final evidence of their convictions.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ died a humiliating and painful death, fulfilling God’s plan and conquering sin. This is what truly moves me to action. May the things that people see in and from us—the actions that we take, and the words we say—be a testament to the truth we believe.