Gas From the Tramp Preacher: the Courage of Your Convictions

Musing on the achievements of four historical figures, the Preacher suggests having the courage of your convictions can make the world a better place.

| January/February 1966

My subject this morning is LIVING WHAT YOU BELIEVE. This is a question that inspires answers like this: Don't swear, don't drink, don't lie, steal, dance, smoke and many others. Good as these are there still seems to be something missing. I think one good goal would be to have the courage of your convictions.

When Teddy Roosevelt spent some time in the North Dakota Badlands regaining his health, he built a boat and painted it red. He with a helper went up the 'Muddy' exploring. One night the boat was stolen. They hastily made a raft and floated down the River looking for the red boat. One evening they saw it on the bank. They circled the camp and came in from the rear surprising the thief and covering him with a gun. The rule of the land in that day was the gun. Normally the man would have been shot there and then. However, Roosevelt believed every man should have a fair trial. He stayed awake and covered the man with a gun for two nights and a day and a half taking him to Medora, N. Dak., where he turned him over to the law. The thief was sent to Levenworth and while there he wrote Roosevelt a letter thanking him for not shooting him.

Roosevelt's Biographer noted that this so impressed the neighborhood that all culprits were given a fair trial after that. Roosevelt never knew the impression he had made on the people. Roosevelt had lived his convictions.

John Brown had an idea about the situation in our country at that time and how it could be righted. He set out to do it in his way. He lost but he never deviated from his idea and method. I have never heard anyone agree with old John. However, all admire that he had the courage of his convictions. We sing 'His soul goes marching on' and that is the reason.

Stephen of the Bible stood for his convictions and was stoned to death because of it. Saul standing by watched his death and was so impressed that he said "That man has something I do not have" and became a changed man. Thus Stephen gave the World the greatest Missionary Preacher the World has ever had, Paul.

Jesus said to his disciples, "I must go up to Jerusalem." They said, "Don't go for it will mean certain death." He said, "I must do my Father's will." He did go and the prophecy of the Disciples came true. On the Cross He said, "It is finished." He stood by his convictions and in it he has changed this old world more than anything else that has ever happened. The courage of your convictions is a big factor in your life.