One of the greatest gifts ever offered to me was the insight that Life is way too short and too valuable to spend it on selfish pursuits of material accumulation and greed. I will be forever grateful that I was given a second chance at life. It was as if a King had purchased my life and had given it back to me when I was about thirty years old. I jumped at the chance, and I now realize that as a result of that gift I was able to sidestep a lot of unpleasant consequences in my life that would have been set into motion as a result of continuing my lifestyle of hard charging greed and accumulation.
At the crux of that whole episode was the principle of relinquishment: the decision to let loose of my personal and exclusive rights to the use of my talents and abilities for selfish accumulation in favor of pursuing goodness and endeavors for helping other people become better off. Our culture and our own nature program us to accumulate, acquire, and hoard. But as Kenny Rogers used to sing, “you got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.” I was able to move from a life-philosophy ofgetting to one of giving. That is a world-changing difference.
There was a certain mystery to it all. I had feared that in moving from getting to givingI would some way forfeit the entrepreneurial thrill of the adventure of life. I was wrong. I was challenged even more to expand my knowledge base and management skills in the pursuit of goodness. I needed to become the best technician possible in order to exponentially multiply the effectiveness of my efforts— but for a different reason. Instead of dealing with the nightmarish results of an adventure of greed and selfish manipulation, I found myself basking in the warm sunshine of true self-fulfillment and accomplishment. I was a happy man!
In our “tea room” at our home in Evergreen I have, among many other memory-enhancing objects gathered from the four corners of the earth, a “knight” standing in shining armor.
During one of my flight segments between Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and Frankfurt, Germany, I began thinking about the idea of relinquishment and accomplishment and especially about the gratitude I feel for having received a second chance at life. I closed my eyes, there in my airplane seat, and thought about my suit of armor back home on display. I reached up and grabbed my pen and jotted down these words about relinquishment:
Since the King had bought my life that day, all the while of my life is spent
In a jousting match of life vs. death, yes, a tournament calledRelinquishment.
I mount my steed in armor gear with my helmet visor down in place
To block the view of outside things and force my focus on the race.
It always seems when the flag is dropped to start the deadly game,
I'm matched against the unbeatable foe who taunts me with his skill and fame.
How shall I ever win this match with a smaller horse and a slight bent lance?
My foe defeated his last nine men; I'm number ten without but a chance.
I study his horse and the length of stride. I notice his pomp from atop his mount
I tell myself it's not flash or style, but who's left atop at the end will count.
This game in which I find myself is not a self‑pride thing
I'll charge my foe with death in mind to serve up love and honor for my King.
The flag is dropped; the charge begins, in fury advances my foe.
And through my visor I see his lance, I feel the thunderous blow
And as we pass close to the rail I feel the bleeding wound,
But I tell myself I'm not finished yet; I am not yet flat on the ground.
I'm still atop; I turn my steed and spur for another charge.
My lance is level, my balance good, my foe seems now not so large.
As we charge again, I feel his lance with a stinging hit to my arm.
But our glancing blows their marks had missed and neither delivered its harm.
One more charge as we turn again, our horses blow and snort.
This is a contest of life and death not just a fanciful sport.
I've learned from rough encounters past to render up your foe quite dead.
You aim at the chinks around the heart and leave quite alone the head.
My lance, indeed, has found its mark; there was success within this try.
He left an opening near his heart; he was holding his lance too high.
I wheel my horse before the King, I stand down in midst of pain.
I see the blood on my saddle spilt, but my armor is sparking clean.
Then comes the chalice and winner's wreath, the spoils of the victor's gain.
I take the trophy in my hand, but refuse all the glory and fame.
I had not fought in the joust this day to win for myself a thing,
I had fought to the death the challenging foe to bring honor to my King.
With satisfaction beyond compare I hand to the King my prize.
I see Him receive with a gracious hand; I see a smile within His eyes.
What else can I do for the King to express my gratitude,
But offer my life to his service grand with a surrendered attitude?
What can I do with the things I receive, the trophies which to me are sent?
I can give them to the King in an act of love . . .
In an act of Relinquishment. Dr. James W. Jackson