One Thing

A quick clip from the film City Slickers. Couple of bad words, be warned. I can’t get it to embed so follow the link.

One thing. The amazing philosophy of Curly the Cowboy. Our lives, like everything, tend towards chaos and destruction. Traveling at a thousand miles per hour without a unifying direction to our lives we take what we can get in every situation, we settle. It’s like we’re moving so fast within our endless to do lists that every experience and relationship we have is relegated to roughly the same status as a fast food joint. We have so many commitments that we can’t make it all work so we take everything on the run.

“I’d like a ‘love’ combo, can I get a side of emotional fulfillment with that?”

Or sometimes the opposite is true. We just have no real purpose so we drift along, which is great, unless we really start to feel the need to do something, be something; and we all start to feel that need at some point. And then we tend to look for the easiest thing, a flotation device to get us through hard times.

“There’s a waterfall ahead!”

“That’s okay, brother, I just take what comes. This old ‘tube has been good to me.”  It doesn’t matter much what it is as long as it’s something to shoot for and it doesn’t take me to far out of my chosen river.

So when Curly says the secret of life is just one thing, it makes sense. He has ordered his life around being a cowboy, and all that goes with it.  Everything else in his life falls into place around that one thing.  Now I’m not saying you should be a cowboy. And I won’t insult my non-believing friends, yet, by taking the easy, Sunday School route here.  Let’s start with the simple truth as presented by Jack Palance (Curly) in City Slickers.  Find something that you most want/need to do and do it. Make it your center and the rest of your life will fall into place around it. As a personal philosophy it makes sense, but there are some flaws and pitfall.

Our level of character and fulfillment is directly related to the quality of the things we commit ourselves to.   There are many high and beautiful things in this life worthy of some level of commitment: education, love, family, some occupations, art. The people who choose to build their lives around such things, in my experience, are happier, more content and of better character than the folks who build around lesser lights: cash, sex, ‘partying’, machismo, popularity, to name a few. Pleasure becomes the highest goal.  As you read you can guess which goals build character and lasting fulfillment and which do not. The greater and loftier the ‘One Thing’, the stronger and more together the person who pursues that thing.

There is one more danger, however. Even the ‘good’ list is fickle.  There is nothing and no one on this earth that can be there all the time. Somehow, someway your ‘One Thing’ will let you down. It must, it is destined in our entropic world to dissolve into nothing. It is as imperfect as we are. The only answer I see is to set your heart and mind on something higher than high. Higher than just an idea. Higher than just a religion. Certainly higher than just people.  This is one reason I serve Jesus Christ. He orders my life and He doesn’t change like the shifting shadows. He is consistent and loving and, I believe, is the center of the only completely honest and true ethical system.

I can’t tell you what your ‘One Thing’ is. I can invite you like Larry Norman back in the seventies and say, “Why don’t you look into Jesus?”

If you are already a Christian then allow Christ to order your life. Get everything in your life going in one direction. You have been given a miraculous gift now get all your little ducks lined up behind the gift and follow Him with all that you have. If your life seems out of sorts, take a look and see, what is your ‘One Thing?’  Have a blessed day.


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