Dusty, sweaty, bloody faces

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“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, speech entitled “Citizenship in a Republic”, given at the Sorbonne, Paris on April 23, 1910 [source]

Of course the real credit ultimately belongs to the God who holds us in existence, but we share in that credit in as much as we respond to His grace. And we do so by putting ourselves into the arena for Him.

I love this quote because it reminds us what it means to live. Life isn’t about avoiding the dust, sweat and blood. As soon as we get so precautious we cease to embrace life. We bury our talents.

It’s hard to stand for something in this world. And those who do so are threatening to those without the courage to do so themselves. It’s much easier to sit on the sidelines and then armchair quarterback the game on Monday morning. But anybody can do that. Don’t do that.

We see it in politics. And we see it in our faith. Living life is not meant to be a “one foot in and one foot out” endeavor.

Get dusty. Get sweaty. Get bloody. Dare greatly.

[photo credit]

3 comments Add comment

Marcelle May 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm

thanks Matthew that’s very inspiring
My ‘dirty & dusty’ is just facing my students every day at work. As much as I love it in some ways the public scrutiny has its painful moments and I’ve often had to tell myself it’s better to just put myself out in the arena than be afraid of rearing my head.
This is my first time here, I’ll get back again soon I hope

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