By Martin E. Willoughby, JR.
I had the pleasure of serving for a season on a local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Board. During that period, I had the opportunity to get to know Bill Buckner who was the Mississippi FCA state director for 27 years before succumbing to leukemia after a lengthy battle. When I met Bill, he had been battling his illness for some time, yet he always had a smile on his face and a good word to share. He exemplified to me what a life of faith looks like. He was always more concerned about asking about and praying for the challenges in my life than his. He was focused on sharing the gospel and mentoring people in their faith. To me, Bill lived an intentional life. He knew his priorities and did not let the distractions of the world, or even his own health challenges, take him off course.
It is easy to live an unconscious life. I don’t mean literally unconscious, but a life without real thought and intention. I feel like that life can be like a current that sweeps us along. If we are not careful, we are living someone else’s idea for our life instead of God’s plan. To me, this is particularly true in our American culture. Our fast-paced and consumptive society does not allow much time for reflection and recalibration. It is almost humorous to think how impatient we have become. I feel so foolish when I find myself getting angry because the movie I am trying to download onto my mobile device is not immediately streaming. It is easy to forget that as a kid I actually had to get in a car and go to a theater to watch a movie. As an antidote, I have noted in the media the increased focus on meditation and mindfulness. However, all I have to do is open my Bible and look at the life of Jesus to see what a life of intention looks like. He knew his purpose, did not rush his life, and led an incredibly intentional life which led to the cross.
Almost eight years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Marilyn Tinnin, the publisher of this magazine. I was inspired by her vision and passion for her business. She was new to the business world but trusted in God to lead her in the right direction. I have seen many magazines come and go, but hers has not only survived—it has thrived. She was kind enough to let me write an article or two, and I have been writing for her ever since. It has been a humbling and moving experience as I try to encourage others on their journey of faith through the written word.
It is easy to live an unconscious life. I don’t mean literally unconscious, but a life without real thought and intention. I feel like that life can be like a current that sweeps us along. If we are not careful,we are living someone else’s idea for our life instead of God’s plan. To me, this is particularly true in our American culture.
At the encouragement of many friends and acquaintances, I decided to gather my thoughts into book form to further share what I have learned from others in the journey of faith. Thanks to an incredible support team including, first and foremost, my wife, Nicki, and kids, Ally and Trey, I am proud to have completed that project which will launch this month as the book Intentional Faith. This book is an opportunity for me to “pay it forward” in a small way. This book is all about making conscious decisions to live a life of faith. This applies to work, family and leisure activities like sports. My prayer is that God uses this book to give back to those who make a difference. I am donating all of my proceeds from this book to faith-based charities. As a tribute to Bill Buckner, I am donating all of my proceeds from the book signing on December 6, 2014, at Lifeway in Jackson to FCA Mississippi. I truly appreciate the opportunity to share each month with you, and I pray that this will be a special Christmas season for you and your family.
Martin E.Willoughby, Jr,. is Chief Operating Officer of Butler Snow Advisory Services, LLC located in Ridgeland. He and his wife, Nicki, have two children, Ally and Trey, and live in Memphis,Tennessee.