He Thought He Was Right

James E. Farley

One of the most interesting and colorful figures in American history is Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. He was born in 1858 and died in 1919. Roosevelt served our country well as Governor of New York, U.S. Congressman, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army and leader of the "Rough Riders," Vice President, and, then, President of the United States of America. He was the first United States citizen to be awarded the Nobel Prize, and the only U.S. President to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Teddy Roosevelt was born into a privileged family. His grandfather was a very successful businessman, and the family was "set" financially. However, Teddy was a sickly child. He was in poor health and suffered all his life with terrible eyesight, but he was determined and entered into a regiment of physical exercise that proved very beneficial to him, physically, all his life. Throughout his life he insisted on much physical exercise and was well known as "...an advocate of the strenuous life."

The family owned a farm called "Sagamore Hill" in New York State and spent most of their summers there. After his "retirement" from the political arena, Roosevelt remained one who liked physical labor. Mrs. Roosevelt would mark certain areas of the farm that she thought should be cleared, and T.R. would rejoice in chopping trees and clearing brush. One day his zeal got ahead of him. His zeal, coupled with his extreme near-sightedness, caused him to chop down several trees, and, in his zeal, he even mistakenly chopped down a telephone pole! Sagamore Hill was without any telephone service for an entire day due to his mistake. He would later grin and say that Mrs. Roosevelt would always chuckle just a little each time the telephone would ring after that day.

This humorous story from the life of the vibrant Teddy Roosevelt, serves well to offer us a lesson. One can be truly zealous for a cause and absolutely think he is right, but be as wrong as was Mr. Roosevelt when he chopped down the telephone pole. Just because one THINKS he is right does not make it so. The Word of God says, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12).

One of the best examples from the Bible of this point is Saul of Tarsus. Here was a religious man (Galatians 1:13-14) ... a truly zealous and sincere religious man (Acts 23:1) ... and one who thought he was doing what was right, but he was as wrong as two left shoes! As he stood before King Agrippa to make a defense, Paul spoke about his life before he became a Christian and while he was actually persecuting and killing Christians. He said to the king, "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth..." (Acts 26:9).

What about YOU, my friend? Are you trusting in your own heart, in your own feelings as a guide in religion? This is a foolish path indeed, for the Word teaches, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool ..." (Proverbs 28:26). Jeremiah of old said it best, "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps." (Jeremiah 10:23). Do you believe that Jesus is Christ? Have you repented of your sins? Upon the confession of your faith, have you been buried with Christ in baptism for the remission of your sins? (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38; 8:36-39; 22:16)

The Bible is our guide and light to direct us in this dark world of sin and error. (Psalm 119:104-105). We are to walk in the light in order to be children of light. (1 John 1:5-7; John 12:36; Ephesians 5:8; I Thessalonians 5:5).

The Bible is right! -P.O. Box 285, Crum, WV 25669. preechkrum@charter.net

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