Time. It flies. It waits for no man. It cannot be slowed, rushed, hurried or stopped. It silently, relentlessly ticks off its measured, irretrievable increments. Its perpetual motion cannot be stalled. Its pendulum just keeps swinging. There is seldom enough of it. It is indifferent too. It consumes life without feeling. It cares not when we look wistfully back and see the relentless loss of life in time’s wake. We cannot stop it. So, please, don’t ask me to do one more time/life consuming thing.
As a busy ADD Minister of the Gospel I find the nature of time quite frustrating. It is finite. There is so much to do. No matter how hard I milk a day for more minutes I only get 1440. Don’t waste a minute calculating this number–I’ve already wasted too many minutes doing it three times. We only get 1440 minutes a day. But, life, like time is also finite. At my current life stage, I experience a fairly constant conscious mixing of aging with time’s finite nature. This leaves me feeling cramped, bound. I am ever more aware of my life, my time passing away. It is beginning to get personal. So, please, don’t ask me to do one more time/life consuming thing.
The heart heavy pressure of fleeting, fleeing time/life is inescapably with me. I usually cringe when someone suggests there is one more thing I should do. I have learned to ignore most of these suggestions. I know I cannot do what everyone says I should do. So, even if you ask, I may not spend time doing what you think I should.
But, recently, a general newsletter sent to thousands suggested there was an activity I should spend my life and time doing. The author of the newsletter even suggested I could not delegate this activity. I came face to face with some-one’s should I could not avoid or delegate. I did not even cringe. I adopted his suggestion as mine and share it with you. The newsletter came from the keyboard of Marshal Shelly, the Editor in Chief of Leadership. Want to know why I listened to Marshal without trying to avoid his time/life consuming suggestion?
Mr. Shelley and I were at a small gathering or Christian Leaders two or three years ago. The second morning of the meeting I wandered wearily into the motel coffee shop to sample the breakfast offerings. Having spoken the night before my soul was troubled with the familiar shame attack stuff. Inside I was telling myself what I should have said and what I should not have said. I felt pangs of shame because I was realizing I had spoken too plainly; been to self-revealing. I had not been professional enough. I should have been less forceful. These self-loathing thoughts swirled in my interior as I looked for a breakfast booth. Suddenly, Marshall, already seated, waved inviting me to join him for breakfast. I sat down. He thanked me for what I had said the night before, spoke of his own journey and told me of the Arizona adventure he anticipated at the end of the week with his teen age son. He talked, asked questions, listened. He just plain treated me like peer.
Since then his newsletters regularly cross my desk. I always gladly use minutes of my finite time to read them. I find these newsletters a profitable use of my time and life. Because of my personal experience of Marshall the man and my regular interaction with his pen I have come to trust Marshall Shelly. Because I trust him I believe his suggestion is so completely worthy of my time and yours I pass it on to you. Here is part of his email newsletter.
There’s one task no leader can delegate. And that’s to make sure you continue learning. Only you can attend to your ongoing development spiritually and professionally.
That’s why Leadership created The Golden Canon, the year’s most valuable books for church leaders. Anyone who’s gone to seminary knows that Canon means “list,” and our list of winners was selected by a diverse group, our contributing editors, who chose the best in two categories: (1) The Leader’s Inner Life and (2) The Leader’s Outer Life.
The finalists are announced here. We commend this list to you to continue to develop your leadership, inside and out. I just finished reading the top choice in the Inner Life category, and I must admit, I’m challenged and moved by the theologically-informed life of obedience in that biography.
Grace, strength, and joy,
As I reviewed the Golden Cannon, I went immediately to the books on the Leader’s Inner Life. I was stunned. I had not read one of them. Sara and I listened to a Focus on the Family presentation on Bonhoeffer’s life but I’ve never read his biography. Amazon here I come. I’ve recently reread Brother Andrew’s Practicing the Presence of God and am currently reading The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis. I cannot believe how much I find myself loving these classics. But, Marshal has encouraged me to more fully accept the responsibility for my own education. I cannot delegate this. It is a great way to spend my time and my life.
If you have not taken our poll on the reading habits of Ministry Professionals I invite you to do so.