What we Must Learn from the Man in the Arena

Trying hard to look at this situation from an outsider’s perspective, I often wonder how some view the story of Angel Food Ministries and its founder and CEO, Pastor Joe Wingo.  Talking to pastors all over the country, trying to calm nerves and explain a somewhat delicate situation after news media presenting unfriendly theories about money and lawsuits scattered the Internet, I realized that there are those out there who need to look at the situation from a different perspective.

Teddy Roosevelt spoke at the Sorbonne in 1910 and said what I believe to be the essence of Pastor Joe’s life, career and determination to build a ministry that actually helps people in a very real way:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The story of Angel Food’s founder is very much that of Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena.  Pastor Joe is the man in the arena, and he has worked very hard for what he has and has built on behalf of others.   He should be lauded, and his model for a charitable organization should be studied, replicated and championed.

(Thank you Daniel H.)


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