John Newton

John Newton

Hey team. All right, so it’s Wednesday — Wednesday Workshop, so, here we are. I want to read to you a quote, something that’s kind of gotten into my thinking here just recently. This quote, as I read it, it just kind of popped off the page and spoke to me, made me think. The quote is this:

“I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I wish to be. I am not the man I hope to be. But by the grace of God, I am not the man I used to be.” – John Newton.

Most of you probably don’t know, without Googling, who John Newton was. He was born and raised in the early 1700s, and by the mid to late 1700s, he worked on slave ships. And he even ended up captaining the slave ship. He spent a period of time in Africa as a slave himself and was rescued. A number of things have taken place in his life. And later in life, he became a Christian and even became an ordained minister.

And the one thing that most of you may know, maybe didn’t know who wrote it, but there’s a famous song called “Amazing Grace.” John Newton is the writer of Amazing Grace. He wrote it towards the end of his life. With that history, he also wrote a pamphlet back in the late 1700s/early 1800s, which helped inform the people in London and England to work towards abolishing the slave trade, which was a huge thing obviously for all countries eventually. And we all know that here in America, we fought very hard to end slavery as well.

John Newton worked hard to make that happen.

For somebody that, when you think of the words to Amazing Grace, and you think of the end of a person — as I look back on decades of my life and I see the changes I’ve made. And sometimes I hear it from team members and sometimes from my wife, who’s been married to me for going on three decades now. She can tell me that I am not the man I used to be. She still wants me to be a different man than I am today, and so do I.

And my boys, they don’t know me for having known me for that many years because they’re still young. But a lot of people in my family and people I work around who have known me for a decade or more have seen changes in me.

And I’ve seen them in myself, become more tempered and more focused on different kinds of things. Things in our lives tend to do that.

And for many of you who are listening to this, maybe you’re looking back a couple of decades and you’re realizing that there’s been change. Some of you are lucky to some degree that you’re young and you look back a couple of decades and you weren’t born yet or you were just born, so you can’t even look back two decades yet. I get it.

And in 20 or 30 years, you’ll be able to look back at those decades. And hopefully, you, because of humility, because of focus and intensity and intentionality in your life, can say, “I’m not the man I used to be. I’m not the person I used to be. I’m not yet accomplished. And I’m not what I want to be. I’m not what I hope to be. But I’m not what I used to be. I’ve made progress inch by inch. I’ve scraped through life and I’ve become a little bit better.”

As we continue to strive towards that prize of being better, on this beautiful Wednesday, these are just some of my thoughts and words of wisdom. Keep going out, striving, thinking, growing, and exploring yourself. Don’t settle for where you’re at in lots of different ways, and keep striving towards that better you. All right, guys, have a happy Wednesday. See you next week. It’s August, so God bless you, and remember, be valuable because nothing less will do.