There are some quotes that most everyone knows, but almost no one knows the quoter. Oftentimes when the quoter is revealed a lightbulb goes off as if to say, "Oh, him!" And yes, sometimes it's "Oh, her!" but I learned English where an unknown gender is assumed to be male. Just as often, the entire quote is not known and when you get the rest of it the true impact is realized. Not quite like taking it out of context to only show half, but sometimes that is just what we do.
The half quote title is by a known speaker, but unknown is when Horace said, "Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero!" Or for those of us who don't speak Latin, Seize the day, put little trust in tomorrow!
I was thinking about this quote today because at lunch I was talking about "yes men" and how a lot of the people in the military tend to blindly follow those over them, quoting the Charge of the Light Brigade's famous lines. Here is the second stanza of Tennyson's poem:
"Forward, the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismay'd? Not tho' the soldier knew Someone had blunder'd: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred
So the thing is, everyone performed bravely and admirably losing their lives in the process. No one questioned why they were going against such a difficult position and as such it is quoted to mean don't ask, just do. But someone should have asked, because the leader meant to go in a different direction. He died, and the horse turned and went toward the troops, which they in turn took to mean head this way. The very context of the story is a time that the question why should have been asked. Brave men foolishly followed a blunder and paid with their lives.
How often do we blindly follow along, or fail to ask when we really ought to? We get into a rote mode where we do what we've always done before. I challenge you to consider this when you consider how you have lived up to (or failed to live up to) the Great Commission: to go forth and make disciples of all the world. It isn't say a prayer with an unbeliever and move on. It's make a disciple. That takes the prayer, yes, but it takes coaching, mentoring, leading, and most importantly living a life for Christ. The prayer doesn't have to come first, and it's usually more effective coming later, especially in this country. We all walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Are we there as a member of the Six Hundred?
- The Charge of the Light Brigade http://bit.ly/rbBbM6
- Explanation http://bit.ly/qlC41Z
- Nearly a blow by blow account http://bit.ly/oMBAub
(I confess I didn't read all of the blow by blow, skipping some of the end)