Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Three Life Goals Brought into Focus

My old friend JR Woodward once wrote a  piece for the curriculum of a doctrinal training program called Great Commission Leadership Institute.  In it, he shared a story of a survey given to people who had lived into their 80s and 90s.  They were asked one question of particular interest.  If they had their whole life to live over again, what would they do differently.  The responses varied, but overwhelmingly three responses were consistently shared by these folks.

They said that they would risk more, reflect more, and give their lives to things that would go on long after they died.  I find myself often revisiting these wise words and reminding myself of the need to put these three ideas into practice.  As a result of reading that article several years ago, I…

Risk More. Ten years ago, I was an analytical chemist for what was then the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer, Mylan Pharmaceuticals.  I had a great job, great benefits, and a bright future at the company.  I left it all and began raising financial support to serve God on the campus of WVU and in the city of Morgantown in a career in ministry with Great Commission Ministries.  Nearly three years ago, the wheels began turning for me to make another career change, and I joined my friends Jake and John as they started Nuru International.  I have no regrets for those changes in career. I believe that we were made to dream and take risks for things that matter in life.  The career changes are big milestones, but I’ve made a discipline out of trying new things, and boldly attempting (and often failing) as I try new things.  Don’t settle for the mundane—work hard and take risks.  The world needs dreamers and risk takers.

Reflect More.  I’m probably in a minority when it comes to this practice (and I’ve actually gotten a bit out of practice), but I strive to regularly carve away time to remember events, to share memories with friends, and to reflect on the kind of person I’m becoming.  It seems like we put a lot of emphasis into the places we live, the jobs we have, and the like, but the most important thing about us is the kind of person we are becoming.  In the past I have spent entire weeks in solitude to reflect, refresh, and rejuvenate.  Everyone has the ability to take a few minutes, and to be honest, those may be the most important minutes of your day.

Give my life to things that will continue after I die.  There are two practices that we all have an opportunity to engage in, loving God and loving others.  Jesus said that these were the two greatest commandments.  I tend to think that a life spent in service to God and others (regardless of your vocation) is the best spent life.  For me, my focus has honed in on serving the poorest of the poor by encouraging people to get involved in what I believe is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation.  Do you want to leave a legacy?  Give your time talents and resources to issues of substance and work to make a difference in this world.  Seek to orchestrate beauty and harmony in places where you see discord. 

I don’t know if you make the time to reflect on your day, your week, or even your previous year, and I don’t know if you are by nature a risk-taker, but my hope is that 2011 will give you ample opportunity to dream and to reflect more, and this year will be a deepening or a beginning of giving your life to things that will go on after you have left this world. 

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