I've heard many inspirational speakers over the years but recently I heard the testimony of a man who challenged my heart, mind, and soul. The setting was the "Wild Beast Feast" (a weekend fellowship and training for Christian men) sponsored by the Friendship Baptist Church of Owasso. The speaker was Clay Dyer, who is a professional fisherman and Christian speaker. Now what's so special about hearing the testimony of a professional fisherman? This professional fisherman was born without legs, and with only one (partial) arm. Still, with all of these limitations he has managed to accomplish many great and wonderful things....
The simple truth is that many people, faced with the obstacles that confronted Clay Dyer, would simply give up. It would be much easier to be a victim and become totally dependent upon the kindness and care of others. But Clay Dyer is not a quitter. Without legs and with only one partial arm he: walks, drives a car, drives a boat, and has become a professional fisherman. (To date he has won 27 professional fishing tournaments.) . His life motto is: "If I can you can." He is truly amazing.
To say he is amazing is an understatement and you can't really capture the full meaning of this until you see him in action. I would invite you to do so by watching a brief video about his life. (Click here to see what I mean.) But even more amazing, I think, than the things he has learned to do is the attitude towards life that he has developed. Clay shared that very early in life he made a decision that he could either become a victim of his circumstances or he could seek, by God's grace, to become all that God wanted him to be. He sought to find God's purpose for him. The result is a life filled with meaning and accomplishment. Clay extols, his audience, "Don't feel sorry for me. I'm living the dream." Upon hearing these words I heard the man sitting next to me say, "I'll never complain about anything ever again!" I felt the same way in my own spirit.
The truth is we all have challenges. There are times in our life when each one of us is tempted to make some excuse and simply quit. But when we face these times we should think of Clay and remember that, "If he can we can!"
Clay is a man of great determination, but he will be quick to tell you, that without Christ he would never have accomplished the things that he has or enjoyed the life that he does. His faith in Christ has made all the difference for him and it should be that way for us as well.
Now I'm not really interested in learning how to fish (let alone become a professional fisherman). But I do have hopes, goals, and dreams. There are times when I wonder if they will ever become a reality; and there are times when I want to make some excuse and simply give up. But I hope that I can be like Clay, and strive to find God's direction and grace for every life challenge. Because if "he can then we can," and that means that I can too!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.