“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” --Franklin D. Roosevelt
This last week we watched the PBS airing of the latest Ken Burns documentary, this one on the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the remarkable time in history when they were in positions of power and influence in the United States.
Such viewing always sends me, a history buff, on a search for more information. Among the things I came across were a whole host of quotes from the three famous Americans. And this one above jumped out.
Franklin Roosevelt, physically paralyzed by polio, nevertheless, was a man of action, with little patience with those who wanted the status quo. He was often criticized for his initiatives, but he advocated for moving forward and argued that it required little of anything to just stand still. All you had to do was... nothing.
In our spiritual lives, there may be a variety of ways of advancing the cause of God’s kingdom and growing in its embrace. There is also one sure way to stand still. But since the whole enterprise of discipleship is about moving forward, standing still is not an option.
We may be criticized for ways we try to move forward. Sometimes the criticism may even be right. But as Franklin’s older fifth cousin, Theodore, said, “Better the man who tries and fails than the man who never tries at all.” Even better than that is the one who tries and fails, learns from it and tries again, than the one who never tries at all...and just stands still.