“My Way”

by Tom Wacaster

The closing lines to Frank Sinatra’s hit record, “My Way,” sum up not only the essence of the song, but perhaps the life of the man himself:

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels,
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows,
And did it my way.
Yes, it was my way.

Mr. Sinatra was the very embodiment of America’s changing values from the 1950’s to the present age. Following WWII our nation began a love affair with the almighty dollar, and the wealth and affluence of this nation blossomed into a mighty oak of material success. Meanwhile, the sanctity of marriage took a back seat to the pursuit of pleasure, with Mr. Sinatra and other Hollywood stars leading the way with multiple partners throughout their careers. Sinatra himself went through four marriages, as well as multiple extra-marital affairs with such stars as Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow, Lauren Bacall, and Marilyn Monroe. Honesty, integrity, and moral uprightness were cast off during the 1960’s sexual revolution, and Sinatra’s well known connection to the mob did nothing to stem the tide of rebellion toward authority. His connections to such mob characters as Lucky Luciano, Mafia boss Willie Moretti, Bugsy Siegel, Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana, and Joseph Fishetti glorified the world of crime and gangsters. Yes, he did it his way! And following in his steps was a generation that forgot God, and sought instead to do it their way. Humanism, materialism, evolution and a host of other “isms” found fertile soil in which to grow, and it seems that in the efforts to do it our way, the nation cast God out of her schools, public discussion, and everyday life. And, as they say, the rest is history!

The Bible gives us an inspired record of men and women who sought to do it their way rather than God’s way, and not a single one of them are held up in high esteem by heaven’s holy hall of fame. Saul, Nadab and Abihu, Ananias and Sapphira, Dathan, Korah, Balaam, the named but seldom remembered ten spies that brought an evil report to Joshua; Pharaoh, Cain, and hundreds and thousands of unnamed men and women who were determined to do it their way! I am presently engaged in a profitable study of the prophet Jeremiah. Judah was determined to do it their way, and the preaching and pleading of the prophet fell on deaf ears.

While in the minority, there are those faithful saints who go about seeking and serving the Lord in the midst of a world of corruption. They are sojourners and pilgrims, strangers in a land not their own. They seek for that city whose builder and maker is God. They feast upon the bread of life, drink from the fountains of living water, and refuse to be conformed to this world. The mark of distinction that sets them apart from the world that seeks to do things their way is that these faithful saints of God seek to do it God’s way.

The album ‘My Way’ sold almost a million copies. Ironically Mr. Sinatra later came to hate the song because it was, in his words, “self-serving and self-indulgent.” Perhaps he came to realize, too late, that words do have meanings, and that the message of the song epitomized him and his generation more than he wanted to admit.

Now let me tell you of another song writer and lyricist. She is a faithful child of God, seeks to serve Him every day of her life. She has written a number of spiritual hymns, some of which have graced the pages of some of our song books. I have known her all my life; she is my mother. Here is a poem she recently wrote that focuses attention on doing things God’s way, for that is the only way that will lead to eternal life:

God’s Way

God says, “If you would walk with me and stand where I stand,
Then you must do it, under the touch of my hand.”
If you are a faithful servant, the Master must be able to say,
“Come, my good and faithful servant, for you did it my way.
Because I sent my Son to bless you and call you back to me,
He promised through your obedience that He would set you free.”
Then for the sake of righteousness, if you hunger and thirst,
You must walk by His pathway, and seek His kingdom first.
If you pass through toils and troubles, and win day by day,
You will seek His face in service, for you will do it His way.

Thank you mom for your wonderful words of encouragement!

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