August 21, 2009
Senator Watson delivered this speech on August 21, 2009, accepting the Excellence in Leadership award for the application of Christian values in service from Concordia University:
I am very honored to receive this award. Concordia University is a gem in our community. And it’s continuing to add assets – whether it’s the wonderful new campus or the new nursing program, there’s much to be proud of. Thank all of you for supporting Concordia.
Because of the school’s role, it’s significant to me that the award for applying Christian principles in leadership comes from you.
Thank you for this.
I’ll also let you in on a personal reason this is significant to me. My wife Liz and I have been married for 30 years. We’ve known each other since elementary school and started dating when I was about 14. We were both raised in a strong faith tradition. In fact, it’s fitting that President Cedel mentioned Proverbs earlier and the emphasis on the path that God chooses. We believe our lives – literally, and particularly in my case as a cancer survivor, and our lives in Austin are blessings on that path. We came to Austin in 1981 for what was only going to be one year. And, look at all we’ve been given.
As I said, we come from a strong faith background. For me, my mother was Billye Faye Watson. She raised my brother and me in a way that assured we knew never to just talk about what you were going to do or how good you thought you were or even how you wanted to or wished you could do something. We were supposed to act. My father Don added to the rule of “don’t just talk – act,” by emphasizing that if we were going to do something half way, it wasn’t worthy or worth doing. And our actions must be for the right reasons.
They taught the lesson of James. The most famous of James’ statements may be “faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead itself.”
As many of you know, and as my parents taught, James was pretty specific about what he meant:
If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?
I hope to live up to my parents’ lessons, and the goal of scripture, by showing my faith from my works.
This recognition moves me.
Again, I thank Concordia. Your role is that of a sower of seeds in our community. Happily, we know that your seed is falling on ground that will bear fruit.
God bless you and thank you.