The Secret

“Tom Harken had a secret,” writes Keith Wishum. “An embarrassing one that he’d kept hidden for decades – even from his own children.”
By almost anyone’s standards, Harken was successful. Happily married with a family, a millionaire by age 50, respected in the community – Harken was doing well when he was awarded the prestigious Horatio Alger Award. (This award is given each year to individuals who have overcome tremendous adversity to achieve greatness in their fields.) It was at the award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in 1992 that Harken revealed his secret to the public for the first time: He could not read.
Successful at many things, Harken had also been successful at keeping his illiteracy hidden. To avoid menus, he always ordered a cheeseburger at restaurants, assuming they all had one. When his children asked him to read a story, his wife covered for him saying he was too busy. And, she did all his paperwork for him.
So, why reveal the secret after hiding it so well for so long? Harken wanted to change. To do that he had to admit that he needed help, and he had to believe that he could learn to read. Years later, Harken reads stories to his grandchildren and champions efforts to eliminate illiteracy. Harken believes if he can change, so can others. *
Each of us has an “embarrassing deficiency” that really is no secret. It is not because of a lack of opportunity to learn some skill, but because of our choosing to seize the wrong opportunities to sin against God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The tragic thing about this condition is that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Yet, because of God’s grace, we can be forgiven, and we can change. God loved us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (Ephesians 1:7). When we submit our lives to Him through trusting faith (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27), then our sins are washed away and we are added to the family of God! Through Jesus we also have the help that we need to change and to grow more and more into His likeness (Hebrews 4:14-16; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
The secret is out: we are doomed sinners. But the Mystery has also been revealed through the Scriptures: that all men may be saved through Jesus (see Ephesians 3).
—David A. Sargent, Minister
Church of Christ at Creekwood

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