Be a Leader of Yourself First (The Brother’s Keeper #59)


Dear Y.B.M.,

In my first series of letters, I strongly encouraged you to “think for yourself.” Today, as we begin this second section in Even Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men, “On Character & Leadership,” I want to strongly encourage you to be a leader but be a leader of yourself first.

That terminology might sound odd at first, but bear with me. I believe that more young black men should be leaders. You may not have any followers right now, but, under God and with God’s blessings, you ought to be a person who thinks for himself and follows his own mind based upon God’s will and God’s Word regarding the direction of your life.

This world has too many followers and too many people looking for someone to take them by the hand and show them the way — all of the way. I stopped following people long ago when I realized that Jesus is the only Leader I need. Most importantly, He is the only Leader who will never let you down. And, because I follow Christ alone, He has blessed me with the privilege of being a leader to others.

The Apostle Paul rebuked some folk for creating factions in the church because they were obsessed with which human leader they were following (including him). Some were saying, “I follow Paul.” Others said, “I follow Apollos.” And others said, “I follow Cephas.” But Paul said, ‘I thank God I have not baptized any of you. I’m not following anybody but Jesus.’ And because he was following Jesus alone, he was bold enough to tell people, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

I want you to be able to say the same thing. Get your life in order under the direction and headship of God through Jesus Christ and you will be ready to be a leader in your own right for the glory of God and for the benefit of many others. Now, this does not mean that you can’t listen to advice from others who are older and wiser. I have a small circle of pastors and leaders who are twenty to thirty years older than me from whom I learn and seek advice. And, thanks to God, these guys have been with for some twenty to thirty years. I listen to their counsel, but I make my own decisions, I take responsibility for those decisions, and I accept the consequences of those decisions be they good or bad. I encourage you to do the same.

There are many different types of leaders. Some are loud and bombastic; others are quiet and contemplative. Don’t be concerned about style. People recognize great, positive leadership when they see it. If you start taking the lead in your own life now, and start leading yourself first, you will be prepared to be a leader, a mentor, a guide, and a role model in your family, in your community, in your church, and in the world.. One day, you may look up and find that people are actually following you as you follow Christ.

Love well. Lead well.

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Tony Evans said, “A kingdom man may be defined as a man who positions himself and operates according to the comprehensive rule of God over every area of his life. And every area of life should feel the impact of a kingdom man’s presence.”

John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Tony Dungy said, “The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a railroad maintenance gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

Satisfied (The Brother’s Keeper #58)

Dear Y.B.M.,

The word satisfied means contented, pleased, or fulfilled.

Most people are unsatisfied with their lives. According to Harris Polls, 67% of Americans are not happy with their existence. The song they sing is, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” They live unsatisfied and they die unsatisfied. In this letter, I will show you how not to live (or die) that way. But, first, what are some reasons why the default setting for most people is “unsatisfied”?

The first reason is because most people pursue only material success. Yes, many of those who count themselves as successful are unsatisfied. Raj Raghunathan, a professor of marketing at The University of Texas McCombs School of Business, wrote a whole book on why accomplished people are not happy with their lives. The problem, he said, is that most people pursue “yardsticks” that signify accomplishment. They chase money and recognition which is a sure recipe for dissatisfaction. “Those yardsticks are ones that people adapt to really quickly. So if you get a huge raise this month, you might be happy for a month, two months, maybe six months. But after that, you’re going to get used to it and you’re going to want another big bump. And you’ll want to keep getting those in order to sustain your happiness levels.” It is sinful human nature that the more you get, the more you want, and this will always leave you unsatisfied. Even if people recognize you for your accomplishments, half of them will be envious of you, and the other half, once they pat you on the back, won’t give you that recognition again, so even that is fleeting and, therefore, cannot be satisfying.

The other main reason why people are unsatisfied with life is that their focus is always on themselves. It is the worship of ego, or what philosopher Immanuel Kant called “your precious little self.” Dr. Steve McSwain said, “Ego is distinguished by the fact that it is self-centered, self-obsessed, and self-absorbed.” Motivational speaker and writer Wayne Dyer said the goal of ego is to “edge God out,” and I will add it edges others out as well. You, more than anyone else, know that you are not perfect. And because of that, you will never be satisfied with yourself or your life.

So, how can one live a satisfied life? The secret to satisfaction rests in knowing, believing, and living in light of the goodness of God. Man is not perfect. This world is not perfect. But God is. And, in His perfection, He seeks our highest good. David expressed this knowledge of the goodness of God when He wrote in Psalm 16:2, “Thou art my Lord: my goodness is nothing apart from thee.” He knew where to look for satisfaction in life. Psalm 73: 25 says, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.”

Those who are truly satisfied do not focus on themselves or on what they can get from life in this world, because, as the Bible says, “this world passeth away.” The only way to be content, satisfied, and fulfilled in this life is to know God by believing on Jesus Christ, God’s Son. You must get out of your mind that such things come from the success you gain, the accomplishments you achieve, the money you make, or the level of “self-actualization” that you reach. You will only be 100% satisfied when you know God through His Son Jesus Christ and when you are living according to His will and His word.

You don’t have to be like most people. You can be

Satisfied,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Oswald Chambers said, “The man or woman who does not know God demands an infinite satisfaction from other human beings which they cannot give, and in the case of the man, he becomes tyrannical and cruel. It springs from this one thing, the human heart must have satisfaction, but there is only one Being who can satisfy the last abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.”

John Piper said, “Every ounce of good in this world comes from God. Nothing can possibly be good unless it comes from God. A joyful Christian believes this truth. He banks his life — and his joy — on it. God is good. God alone is good. And all good comes from God.”

Albert Schweitzer said, “The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.”

Charles Spurgeon said, “In spiritual things, when God has raised a desire, He always gratifies it; hence the longing is prophetic of the blessing. In no case is the desire of the living thing excited to produce distress, but in order that it may seek and find satisfaction.”

Joni Eareckson Tada said, “Real satisfaction comes not in understanding God’s motives, but in understanding His character, in trusting in His promises, and in leaning on Him and resting in Him as the Sovereign who knows what He is doing and does all things well.”

It Won’t Be Easy (The Brother’s Keeper #57)


Dear Y.B.M.,

Nothing worth having in life comes easy. That is something you need to get ahold of early. Just because your gift comes naturally to you, that does not mean you will not have to work hard in order for you to fulfill what God has called you to do.

Take a look at the Apostle Paul. Shortly after he trusted Christ as Savior, God said, “He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” From there on out, one would think that it should have been smooth sailing for Paul. But it wasn’t. While he was a gifted preacher and evangelist, he faced plenty of difficulty in his life. He was persecuted by his own people and by Gentiles. He still had to work his “day job” as a tentmaker in order to make money to live.

He wrote in one letter, “I am in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

Yes, Paul was a hard worker but he was also an overcomer. He had a litany of mountains to climb and obstacles to get through. And if you want to reach your goals and fulfill the purpose that God has given you for your life, you will have to work hard as well.

You must develop a mindset of determination that says, “No matter what obstacles I am faced with, I will overcome. I will be victorious in the end.” You cannot give up at the first sign of trouble or opposition. You cannot think that because you are doing God’s will, you will not have any difficulties.

No, God allows difficulties in our lives in order to develop character and in order to allow us to be tested so that we can see areas in which we need to improve. It is these difficulties that create within us the conditions that will allow us to maintain success once we have achieved it.

In life, just because it doesn’t come easy, doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. If you battle through the difficulties in order to fulfill your purpose, it will be worth it in the end.

Working hard and overcoming,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Michael Jordan said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

Cristiano Ronaldo said, “Talent without working hard is nothing.”

Henry Ford said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”

Maria Bartiromo said, “Don’t ever, ever, believe anyone who tells you that you can just get by, by doing the easiest thing possible. Because there’s always somebody behind you who really wants to do what you’re doing. And they’re going to work harder than you if you’re not working hard.”

Booker T. Washington said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

Are You a Man On a Mission? (The Brother’s Keeper #56)


Dear Y.B.M.,

I hope that you are on the path to pursuing your life’s purpose by investing in and living out the gift that God has given you.

So far, we have been using the word “purpose” to denote the overall goal of your life, your reason for living. Now, I want to introduce a new word to help you get ahold of this concept even better. That word is the word “mission.” Business experts often advise that companies differentiate between their purpose and their mission. They say the purpose is why the company exists, and the mission is what the company does to carry out the why of the company. This principle applies to your personal life as well. Continue reading

Discovering Your Gift (The Brother’s Keeper #55)


Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

Dear Y.B.M.,

Every person who has ever been born has a God-given gift or talent that they should not hesitate to use. Some of these are unique spiritual gifts, such as those spoken of in Romans 12:6: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.” These gifts are for use in ministry through the Christian church. But First Peter 4:10 tells us that every man has received a gift from God.

Yes, you have a gift.

Your gift is that which you are naturally good at doing, something that you have an inclination toward or a special interest in. It may be public speaking, leadership, business, sports, math, geology, or writing. The list is nearly infinite.

Some people know what their gift is from a young age. Others don’t realize what their gift is until later in life. I did not realize that I had a talent for writing until after I trusted Christ as my Savior at the age of nineteen. Prior to that, I had no interest in English or literature whatsoever and quite frankly I was not good at it in high school. Be that as it may, I strongly believe that it is much better for you to find out what your gift is as soon as possible and to begin investing your time and energy in using that gift for the glory of God, for the betterment of others, and for your own advancement in life.

This is largely something that you will have to do on your own, and with the help of family and friends who are invested in your life. Unfortunately, the public school system, for the most part, will not help you realize your gift. In most public schools, children are told to spend more time on subjects which they struggle with and to spend less time in those areas that they excel at when the reverse should be taking place. Unfortunately, many schools do not recognize your individual uniqueness.

Perhaps, the only thing standing between you and the discovery of your gift is the fact that you have never stopped to think about what your gift might be. Has someone ever told you that you are good at something that you didn’t think was that big of a deal? Do you feel energized by helping others learn something new? Are you a creative thinker? A confident communicator? Do you find yourself often encouraging and motivating others? Are you skilled at making things with your hands?

Take some time to make a list of the activities that interest you and the subject areas in which you excel. You can also ask yourself, “What is the one thing that I do better than others around me?” Both the list and the answer to the questions above will shed light on your gift or talent. You may even have more than one gift or talent.

Most importantly, pray and ask God to direct you as you consider the possibilities that are before you. He wants you to find your gift more than you do. And He wants you to use it for His glory.

One gifted individual to another,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

T.D. Jakes said, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”

Maya Angelou said, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

The Eternal Purpose (The Brother’s Keeper #54)


Dear Y.B.M.,

I hope that you have committed to not settling for the mundane life that most people live. I hope that you are ready to reach for something higher. And, by “higher”, I mean the highest possible level that one can attain.

While you are seeking to determine the purpose of your life, please understand that any purpose that is truly worthwhile is one that is tied to a higher purpose. Your purpose, if it is to be truly meaningful, must be wrapped up in God’s purpose for the world. As the saying goes, “Only one life, twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

One day, you will die. You ought to be determined to leave something of significance behind. It could be a book, a movie, or music. It could be the impact you had on the lives of your children and the lives of others. It could be a business or a charity. Beyonce sang a song titled “I Was Here.” It starts like this:

I want to leave my footprints on the sand of time
Know there was something that I left behind
When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets
I’ll leave something to remember so they won’t forget

You ought to have that same desire.

But, the truth is that the entire world will one day pass away. The Apostle Peter wrote, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Yes, even the things you leave behind will be “burned up” when the world ends. So, does anything that we do now really matter? Absolutely, yes.

In order for what you do to matter in the end, you want to be engaged in fulfilling a purpose that has eternal implications. You want to impact people’s souls, not just their physical existence. You want to have an effect on their inner person. The highest form of this is sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people you meet. This can be done in a variety of forms, even if one is not called to preach. I know of a barn-building company that includes on all of its billboards and brochures the slogan, “Jesus is coming. Are you ready?” There is no telling how many people have been prompted to question the status of their souls simply by being seeing that statement.

While it is great to sell houses, cut hair, or make music, be aware that the people who are impacted by your work also have a soul that will live forever in Heaven or Hell. The most important thing in their life is their relationship with God. What can you do to encourage that in the area in which you work?

This is not to say that you cannot become a police officer or a teacher or a doctor. All of those roles are vitally important to God and to the world He created. But how you influence people spiritually will be your greatest—and only—contribution that will last forever.

Yours for engaging in an eternal purpose,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

David Platt said, “There is indescribable joy, deep satisfaction, and an eternal purpose in dying to ourselves and living for Christ.”

Rick Warren said, “To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success-motivation, or inspirational stories.”

Woodrow Kroll said, “God’s purpose gives life meaning.”

Don’t Settle (The Brother’s Keeper #53)

Even Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men
Letter One: Don’t Settle


Dear Y.B.M.,

When I was a young man, there was one thing I wanted almost more than anything else. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me. I wanted to do something that mattered with my life. Although I was having fun partying and living life as I pleased, the thought that came to my mind quite often was: “There’s got to be more to life than this.” More than working a nine-to-five job. More than getting a paycheck. More than living the same, mundane lifestyle that I saw so many other people living.

I looked at the Civil Rights movement, seeing it as a period of history where people did something that was bigger than themselves. I considered becoming an attorney who stood up for the rights of black people in society.

There is a reason why young people have been at the forefront of major political and social movements throughout history. God has put in every one a desire to live a life that counts, to live a life that matters, to do something that matters. The problem comes when many people, as they grow older, decide to settle. They settle for the mortgage, the car note, the job they don’t enjoy, the steady paycheck, and keeping up with the Joneses. They settle for mere existence, and not really living. The only goal they look forward to is retirement.

This kind of life is a waste of the talent that God has given us. God would not put the desire to do something that matters inside of us if He didn’t intend for us to use it as impetus for our future. God has plans for you, young black man. He wants you to live a life that counts. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…”

I did not find my true purpose in life until I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior on December 19, 1979, when I was nineteen-years-old. So, I was still a young man. I thank God that Jesus saved me. It has made all of the difference in the world.

Shortly, after I gave my life to God, He called me to preach. During this time, I also found that I had an interest in words and writing — something that I had not had before. By the grace of God, I have spent the past thirty-six-plus years preaching the Gospel and writing, and I am not ready to stop. I say with the old saints, “I don’t feel no ways tired.” That is the great thing about doing something that matters with your life: it never gets old. It is always fun.

Yours for never settling,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Rick Warren said, “Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.”

Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

John Herrick said, “Gideon saw in himself an unqualified, insignificant individual. But God saw someone He could use. God feels the same way about you. He sees potential and value that you might not see in yourself. He wants you on His team.”

Seneca said, “Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.”