They Key to Everything, Part 2

Posted on October 19, 2015 in Justice, Leadership


Can there be more than one Key to Everything?

Last week I reviewed Matt Keller’s outstanding new book by that name, whose premise is that teachability determines why some people are successful in life and others aren’t.

As an author, I know book titles aren’t copyrightable. So while I was reviewing Mr. Keller’s book I decided to search to see if there were other nonfiction books written with that same title.

I found two, written by Norman Grubb and Jack Hayford, both prominent Christian pastors and thought leaders.

Grubb’s short yet powerful book, published in 1985 (when he was 90 years old), identifies receptivity—choosing to live as one whose main function is to be a container of the life and love of God—as The Key to Everything. As a follower of Jesus, that resonates deeply with me.

If you’re not sure about God and Jesus but you’re willing to consider the possibilities, then reflect on this line from Grubb’s work:

“…I saw for the first time that the only reason for the existence of the entire creation is to contain the Creator! Not to be something, but to contain Someone.”

Grubb concluded from the pages of the Bible that while the natural universe can contain manifestations of God, human beings can contain God as a Person. The rest of the book unpacks the implications of his conclusion for people who want to follow Jesus.

Jack Hayford’s book, first published in 1993 and revised in 2015, shares his personal story of discovering that the Key to Everything is giving, and that learning and applying this key involves growing a heart attitude “which gives the right thing at the right time in the right way and for the right reasons.”

Dr. Hayford’s personal journey involved experiencing the truth of one of Jesus’ central teachings: Give, and it shall be given to you…for with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” He goes on to describe this as the reciprocal law of giving, which applies in the positive and the negative: when you give something, something will come back to you, and if you don’t give, you lose because there won’t be a return.

Here is where Keller’s and Hayford’s books intersect. If you faithfully apply the mindset and principles of achieving success through teachability, and then keep it all to yourself, you will eventually lose what you gained.

Teachability. Giving. Concepts that, together, I think of as two rows of teeth on one key to everything—a single, unifying truth, one that honest examination and reflection by anyone would reveal as self evident:

The best, most satisfying life on earth is one lived for the sake of others.

Whatever you believe about life, about the world, about God, or whether there is a God… search your heart, deep down. Reflect on the best moments of your life, the most soul-satisfying, make-you-come-alive moments.

I’m confident you’ll find they were the moments when, whether it was something small or enormous, you gave of yourself to benefit another. Because you cared. Because you loved them. And you didn’t expect anything in return.

If that makes sense to you, then think about the self-evident truths the United States of America were founded on—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—in the light of this possibility: a nation full of people living self-giving lives.

I think the battles for rights and equality and justice would look a lot different.

The only way we can really live for others is to allow, as Grubb describes, the self-giving life of God to live through us to others.

To me, that’s the metal of the key to everything.

What say you?