EBS58: The Magic of Boldness

Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #58

Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 26, 1975

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One of the more interesting stories of the Gospels is that of Jesus coming upon Peter, James and John while they were fishing. He called to them to launch out into the deeper water and let down their nets; with these instructions they caught a fantastic draft of fish. This amazing experience caused them to forsake their occupation as fishermen and to follow Him as disciples. We can imagine those who had been acquainted with them being quite startled at this sudden change. There must have been much disapproval and misunderstanding, and the men were probably called fanatics for their actions.

It is often said today that religion has its place but that there is no point in getting fanatical about it. Actually, the word fanatic is derived from a Latin word which means “inspired by divinity”. In this sense of the word we could use more, not fewer fanatics in the world. Going further with the analogy of the Gospel story, unless we are willing to launch out into the deeps of spirit there is little hope for us. We can paddle about in the shallows of thinking and living, but we never really swim or express our potential until we push away from the shore and get into the depths of spirit.

In these essays we try to impart the message that Jesus called out to his disciples-to-be: dare to step out into the depths of your innate potential; meet life with a new boldness. To prompt this step, a little insecurity can often be a good thing. I love the story of the man who created for himself a decent life in the Canadian wilderness. Explaining how he managed, he said, “All I had was a lot of sheer necessity.” With the advantage of creative insecurity, launch out into the depths of your own innate nature.

An example of one who tapped his potential is Spinoza. As a young man he had a brilliant intellect and security that had been provided by his father’s rather large estate. He and his sister had been engaged in a lawsuit over the estate and he had been the victor. However, once this goal was achieved he experienced an awakening—a realization of what his life was all about. He felt called to higher things and had the boldness to reach out and live according to an entirely new set of values. He gave his entire fortune to his sister (much to her surprise) and supported himself by grinding lenses. He became not only a renowned philosopher but also a very saintly individual. His peers regarded him as being inspired by divinity from the very depths of his existence.

When, some years ago, Albert Einstein was asked if, as a scientist, he believed in God, his reply was, “My God is the God of Spinoza.” Spinoza had written: “God is in all, and all in God. Nature and the universe are but a manifestation of God. Man is but a mote of the divine existence. God is energy, man is the act. Man’s mind is part of the divine flame; his body the mode of the infinite existence.”

Consider these words from Goethe: “Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, magic in it. Only engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin, and then the work will be completed.” Yes, boldness has magic in it. Stir up your enthusiasm with new interests, new daring, new boldness in launching the search of your own inmost self; then, utilizing this spritual principle that you have come to know, step out on faith.

We need boldness in dreaming, for instance. Dreamers are the saviors of the world. All that is new and wonderful for everybody started someplace in the dreams of someone who had the boldness to buck the tide of human thought. New dreams can be your salvation. Just what is it that you need? Dare to dream of fulfillment. Dare to believe that you are the living enterprise of the infinite, creative process and that God has made a great investment in you and that you must work with God through self-discipline and management of your thoughts and affairs. One gets the impression from outstanding people throughout history that they were bold enough to stake their claim, to control the inexhaustible forces within them, and to act as God’s living manifestations.

Early in his career, Winston Churchill, certainly a fine example of the daring individual in history, wrote an article that was intended as a guide for investors. However, its message can be applied to every part of our lives: “Thought is the formative power of the universe. All activity is but thought in motion. Just as the harvest follows the planting of the seed, so is prosperity the harvest or outcome of well organized thoughts. Therefore, think gainfully, waste not the smallest amount of energy on failure; instead feed your mind with progressive thinking and creative imagination. Together they develop ingenuity, an ingredient that turns dreams into accomplishments. Awaken your spirit; discipline yourself sternly because without staunch resolve and future planning, your hopes and expectations remain unnourished. Never attempt any transaction when overly influenced. Weigh all ventures with cool reason. Rout the retarders of fear and indecision and procrastination, for nothing exists for us that is not in our consciousness. Mentally picture your dominant aim or idea. Hold this awarding image faithfully, for it is the hope of attainment, and then fire yourself with the will to do; Behold! one’s major objective is thus achieved.”

Let us heed Churchill’s philosophy. Cultivate assiduously an awareness of the presence that is ever within and dare to plumb the depths of your inmost self. Throughout all life’s experiences, realize that there is always help and guidance from an infinite source and that you are one with it at all times. Dare to plug yourself into the infinite mind and walk by faith rather than by sight. Challenge yourself to know the truth of life and put it endlessly to the test: “Prove me now herewith if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Really making use of this insight in truth requires great subtlety. In some situations, speaking the word requires great courage, because if we stand for truth instead of for error, there is always the chance of being laughed at if things don’t work out. However, with nothing at stake, nothing can be lost yet little can be accomplished.

Much popular philosophy points us toward safe indifference to all of life’s issues. If you never go out on a limb you will be safe from falling; however you can never pick the most desirable fruit, which comes only to the bold who don’t consider failure. Boldness has magic in it...act as if it were impossible to fail!

In Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare writes: “All lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform, vowing more than the perfection of ten and discharging less than the tenth part of one.” We need to practice what we preach as well as the preachments we subscribe to. Dare to begin to do something about this new insight in truth and put aside mere lip service. Certainly you and I and the entire world need this truth, but acted out and not just on a piece of paper.

We need to be bold, to get the insight into our consciousness, and then to do it, to act upon it, and make it an actuality. Decree for yourself: “I will be bold and daring; I will expand my horizons; I will dream of good things, great things, wonderful things for myself and others. Courageously I will step out in faith, believing that all things are possible for me. I will be bold; I will be daring;

I will utilize my faith in each and every life situation. I will challenge myself to believe only the very best, beginning today to really know and use the truth I know. Boldness has magic in it!”


© 1975, by Eric Butterworth

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