Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Years - Olympic Style

It's 2006, which means not only mid-term elections in the states, but the Olympic games. I'm always amazed when the games come around. While they're a display of athleticism, it seems to me that they are, more than any other event, a display of the power of commitment. The people that compete at this level haven't casually decided to make a run for a gold medal. They've counted a cost and made a conscious commitment to their goal. They understand that, while they're more just skiers or skaters, those identities have taken up the vast portion of their waking hours. Focus - Determination - Perserverance. It's a bit inspiring, or guilt inducing, depending on my frame of mind.

In contrast, the world is filled with people who are forever waiting to commit, whether vocationally, relationally, or spiritually, and so live lives of difused rather than focused energy. The results, often, are not pretty.

Every year at this time of the new year (and even regularly throughout the year) I find it helpful to revisit the question of exactly what it is that I'm supposed to be doing with my life. For me, the answers to that question come through prayerful consideration of the various roles God has given me at this time in my life, because I know that whatever my hand finds to do, I'm to do with all my might. So I pause to consider each of the roles that is on my plate:

1. Husband & Father
2. Leader
3. Shepherd
4. Visionary
5. Teacher

For each of these areas, I consider goals, asking the question of what it is that God would want me to be doing. I try to articulate these answers in terms of particular goals. While I'm not a big fan of management tools (I want to mock the Dilbert culture of the corporate world along with everyone else), I would say that this tool, found in Steven Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" has been one of the most helpful bits of counsel ever in terms of bringing order, focus, priority, and direction to my weekly and daily activities.

I'd encourage everyone to at least ask the questions: "What are the roles I've been given in life right now?" And the second question: "What particular endeavors am I supposed to be doing in each of these areas?"

Paul appeals to the Olympic games analogy in I Corinthians 9 when considering his own life. He says that he has no desire to be a fraudulant participant, so he focuses and disciplines his life, seeking in everything he does, to bring God glory by both the quality and focus of his days. He's a good example for those of us who are easily sidetracked from our callings.

What are your roles?


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