In the movie Braveheart, Robert the Bruce stands before his leprous father with tears in his eyes. He has just betrayed William Wallace on the battlefield at Falkirk, and is now riddled with guilt.
“Men follow me,” Bruce tells his father, “because if they don’t I’ll throw them off of my land and I starve their wives and children. Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk fought for William Wallace. He fights for something that I never had. And I took it from him when I betrayed him. I saw it in his face on the battlefield, and it’s tearing me apart.”
It’s a pivotal point in Bruce’s life where he realizes that to believe in something with such passion as Wallace is a treasure that many men, including Bruce himself, do not have. You see, he’s been playing both sides of the English and the Scottish, trying to appease the crown and the Scottish Nobles for the sake of a title and land. And it’s here where he realizes those things mean nothing if you have to sell your soul to acquire them. But passion…that’s what he really wants.
“All men betray,” his father tells him. “All men lose heart.”
“I DON’T WANT TO LOSE HEART!!!” Bruce shouts, tears streaming down his face. “I want to believe as he does.”
This scene moves us because we can empathize with the young Bruce. We too want to believe in something greater than ourselves. But we know that we have lost heart. It may be subtle, but when we see scenes like this it stirs something deep within us to cry out in the words of Robert the Bruce: “I don’t want to lose heart!”
Jesus was a carpenter out of Nazareth.
“What good can come from Nazareth?” Nathanael told his brother Philip.
But Philip had heard this carpenter speak and was convinced this was on the one the prophets had foretold would come. And this carpenter revolutionized the world, didn’t he? He inspired a rugged group of knucklehead men to lay down their livelihoods and follow him.
“Follow me,” Jesus said. But why? Because there was something different about this young man, something that called to the hearts of these fishermen and awakened in them a longing for something more. And their lives were transformed forever.
Martin Luther King Jr had a dream that inspired a movement. Mother Teresa had a passion for the sick and homeless of India, and has influenced thousands to follow in her footsteps. Jackie Robinson picked up a bat and refused to fold in the face of racism and fear, and thus inspired a nation.
Great men and women inspire greatness in others because they have a passion that most of us long to experience, but secretly believe doesn’t exist. At least not for us. We settle on the idea that we are not meant for anything other than an ordinary life, and we limit our ability to see beyond our experience.
But what if we were called to something more?
“I want to believe as he does!” Bruce cried.
And so at that moment he vowed to never be on the wrong side again. After watching Wallace be tortured and executed in the name of freedom, Bruce rode out onto the battlefield and led the Scottish clansmen to victory over the English crown he once served.
And those fishermen? They watched their teacher go to the cross, and it motivated them even more to spread his message of love, hope and redemption.
Find people who will motivate and challenge you to grow, to do great things. The world is desperate for people who are passionate about life. Purpose driven people engaging everyday with intention.
I’m not advocating for you to do something reckless.You don’t have to change your job or move to another country. But don’t lose heart. Remember who you thought you could be once, when you were a child. Remember how it felt to view the world through new eyes. Our experience in this world can jade our passion for life, but don’t let your experiences control the choices you make for your future.
And as you include people who will motivate you in your own life, lead others in your charge to great things. All you have to do is care. All you have to do is be passionate about the right things.
You can change the world, one person at a time.
What will you do?