4 ways to excel
When it comes to excelling in ministry and life, keep these in mind.
First, commit your ways to the Lord.
Whose opinion matters? Who should we strive to please with our thinking, working, and living? Who will we stand before when this life is over and present an account of our actions? The old saying is true – “Only one life will soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last.” What is the driving force of our life? What is the goal of what we do? Do we live for the applause of man or of heaven? Choose the latter. To live a life that matters, attempt to do everything in the name of, and for the glory of, our Father in heaven.
Second, hold criticism lightly.
Everyone has an opinion, and many are anxious to share it. If you do anything in a public manner, you will receive feedback. Some will be encouraging and help you continue. Others will eat at you and potentially lead you to discouragement. Most pastors, leaders, and managers receive criticism. What do you do with it and how do you process it? Answering these two questions will either help us grow, refine our craft or quit.
I would suggest that we a couple of things when someone shares their opinion of our efforts. Consider the source. Is this person a friend? Do they know you? Are they in your camp and support you? If so, then this is valuable feedback on your work. Listen as objectively as you can and try to hear what they are saying. Most likely, they are making a comment that will help you, and they are not passing judgment on your personally. Being able to separate the two is very helpful.
Is the person offering the criticism always critical? If so, then try to glean anything of benefit from what is shared, but don’t spend a great deal of time doing so. Some people always have to have the final say and they view their opinions as correct. Some need to vent and we can offer them a service by listening to what they share. If there is truth in what is shared, then implement it. If not, then rest in knowing you loved them by listening without retaliation. This is not always easy to accomplish, but responding in the same manner as the one sharing will often lead to unnecessary conflict.
Third, redeem the time.
We all are given the same amount of time each day. Most of us struggle to use it properly. We must prioritize what is important and focus our efforts there. It is easy to become distracted with the unimportant. Making lists and evaluating what must be accomplished will help. What will cause the most damage if left incomplete? What will produce the greatest result and benefit if completed? Focus our energy there. We all struggle but we all can improve. Do not let the tyranny of the urgent drive out what is important. We will give an account to the Creator of time with what we have done with His gift when this life is over. Choose wisely.
Fourth, enjoy the day.
We have so little control over anything. We live with the illusion that we do, but we don’t. We need to learn how to smile more, laugh deeply, and enjoy the gift of life. As I am rushing past 60 years of age, enjoyment of the day means more now than when I was thirty. There is less time left and as I reflect on the past and how I have dealt with what has happened, God wants me to have more joy. There was joy at creation and there will be joy at the end of all time. We must learn how to enter into joy regardless of what this life throws at us.
Wasting time in anger, frustration, envy, comparison of others, and being frustrated over what does not produce joy in our lives. Enjoy the gifts God has given you – life, family, love, work, ministry, His creation, relationships, provision, and a host of other gifts from our Master. God made us to love and to enjoy. I pray we don’t waste the day in lesser pursuits. This life will soon be past, learn to enjoy what our Father has provided.
Dr. Jeff Klick serves as the senior pastor of Hope Family Fellowship, an age-integrated church he planted in 1993. In addition, he is an instructor with The Institute of Church Management and is on the board of The Council for Gospel Legacy Churches. He has earned a professional designation, CFP, a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry, a Doctorate in Biblical Studies, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Ministry. Jeff and his bride Leslie have been married more than 42 years and are blessed with three adult children and 13 grandchildren.www