Hal Brady

Hal Brady

The new year has arrived! As we begin to focus on it, many of us think of “good advice” that might guide us.

However, before getting to that good advice that relates to the new year, I want us to consider the “best advice” that several of us have ever received. Of course, most of us have received good advice and even bad advice over the years, but here I want to point out the best advice several of us have received.

I’ll lead off with the best advice I personally have ever received. It came from a bishop in the United Methodist Church. At the time of the advice, I was the pastor of a county seat church in a small town. I had just been informed by the bishop that I had been selected and appointed as the pastor of a church on the university campus of a major city. Right after giving me the news, the bishop said that he had some advice for me. He said, “Hal, don’t go up there and try to out profound the profound. First of all, you can’t do it and second that is not what those people in that church need. They need the same Good News that you have been preaching in that county seat church.”

I took the bishop’s wisdom to heart and had a most meaningful and enjoyable ministry in that university church.

I asked my wife about the best advice she had ever received. She stated that when she was a teenager her mother always gave her this advice, “Take care of the little things, and the big things won’t happen.”

Now, that’s the fine print, and that’s still good advice. Be faithful in your day-by-day tasks. Be honest in your relationships. Remember the importance of character. Take care of the detains. Grow up a little bit everyday. You get the idea!

Next, I asked our daughter, who is a fifth-grade teacher in a public school, about her best advice. She said it was something she was taught growing up at home, “Always be able to look yourself in the mirror.”

In other words, live a life of integrity and be true to yourself. Avoid living a life of regret.

Finally, I asked our son, who is an astute businessman, about the best advice he ever received. He quoted some words from a well-known business executive, “You will always be a success if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

That saying speaks volumes to any and every endeavor. Every accomplishment or achievement we make has become possible through the assistance of others. And only small people will forget it.

Well, I’m sorry I can’t ask you, the reader, about the best advice you’ve ever received. It would be an enlightening and growing experience for the rest of us.

Before concluding, however, I want us to consider possibly the best advice for this brand new year, 2020!

The late Karl Menninger, American psychiatrist, on the occasion of his 87th birthday read the words listed below. Although Dr. Menninger was not the author, it expressed his philosophy of life. And at the beginning of a new year, it seems excellent contemplation or advice.

1. People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered: Love them anyway.

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives: Do good anyway.

3. If you are successful, you win false friends and make true enemies: Try to succeed anyway.

4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow: Be good anyway.

5. Honesty and frankness will get you nowhere, they make you vulnerable: Be honest and frank anyway.

6. People favor the underdogs, but they follow the top dogs: Fight for some underdogs anyway.

7. What you spend days building may be destroyed overnight: Do it anyway.

8. People really need help, but they attack you if you try and help them: Try anyway.

9. Give the world the best you have and you get kicked in the mouth: Give the world the best you have anyway.

If that is not the best advice for the new year, it is close to it. Happy New Year!

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The Rev. Hal Brady is an ordained United Methodist minister and executive director of Hal Brady Ministries, based in Atlanta. You can watch him preach every week on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters TV channel Thursdays at 8 p.m.

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