Leadership & Formation #14 – Clock or Compass

Leadership & Formation #14 – Clock or Compass




Don’t you hate surveys?  I do too.  But the wonderful thing about being the teacher is that you get to ask people to do what they hate to do.  Let’s take a survey.

What percent (%) of your time is spent of the following activities?

  • Your daily responsibilities?                                               
  • Other people’s demand and crisis?                                   
  • Recreation and escape?                                                 
  • Personal planning and development?                               

What percent (%) of your time is spent with the following people?

  • Work associates?                                 
  • Friends?                                              
  • Self?                                                  
  • Family?                                              

“Be careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:15-16

Time is a precious resource.  It cannot be saved or stored; it can only be used.  Time that is not used is lost forever … it can never be recovered.  Everyone has 24 hours per day. 

Should we strive for balance?

Is a balanced life really possible?  Does life happen to us in a predictable manner?  Is all of life under your control?  Life comes at us in unpredictable ways.  Sometimes, we see it coming.  Other times it takes us by surprise.  Sometimes we’re prepared.  Other times we are not prepared.

QUESTION:  What has happened in your life that caught you by surprise and threw you for a loop – something you didn’t know was coming, something that knocked you off balance?

Picture yourself on a tightrope.  What would your mind be on?  What would be the state of your body?  What would happen if a gust of wind hit you from the left?  From the right?  Would you be able to relax?  What would be your primary focus?  Our desire is to get from Point A to Point B without falling.  While doing so we are under anxiety and stress, our bodies are tense and on constant alert.  We make a myriad of adjustments to maintain our balance.  We rearrange the aspects of our lives in a new order.  We reprioritize our activities.  We are constantly adjusting our undertakings for the new reality.  Maintaining balance in the midst of life’s circumstances is difficult if not impossible to achieve.  Life happens to us in very unpredictable ways that can knock us off balance. 

If living a ‘Balanced’ life is futile, how are we then to live?  I recommend you consider living a ‘Centered’ life instead.

For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.  Ecclesiastes 8:6 

Christ was never in a hurry …

When we look at the earthly life of Jesus we don’t see a harried haphazard and reactive lifestyle.  No, we see a proactive centered life.  Crowds pressed in on him, people clamored for His attention.  His disciples urged His involvement.  The Bible says that He often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16).  He was never harried even when his friend Lazarus died (Luke 11:6).  He commended Mary to her sister Martha for choosing the right thing to do while she was distracted by many things (Luke 10:40-42).  Christ was centered because He knew His priority – to do the will of His Father and to finish His work (John 4:34).  He knew His priorities and ordered His life to fulfill those priorities.

We have a choice…

…  To live reactively or proactively,

…  To live in accordance with God’s plans or our plans.

…  To live in alignment with His purposes for us or others purposes for us.

…  To live by the clock or live by the compass.

How does a “spinning top” maintain its equilibrium against opposing forces?  When it is hit it momentarily knocked off equilibrium but soon regains its upright posture.  It instinctively finds its center of gravity.

What does a centered life look like?

What is your spiritual center of gravity?  Is it so strong that you’re able to find your equilibrium no matter what life throws at you?

What do we know about this “spiritual center of gravity?”  It has four essential elements the build on one another.

  1. The first essential element is a personal relationship with Christ.
  2. The second essential element is biblical beliefs and values. 
  3. The third essential element is a Christian worldview. 
  4. The fourth essential element is pure motives.

It influences all life’s activities and interactions:  physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, professional, and spiritual.

Once we know our personal “spiritual center of gravity” we should order our lives accordingly.

Living a centered life is an inside out process. Who we are at the core of our being will determine the quality of our behavior in the workplace, in the realm of our relationships, in the sanctity of our home.  Our ‘beingness’ dramatically influences or ‘doingness.’  What we do does not determine who we are!  Who we are determines the significance and effectiveness of what we do.

Living a centered life is living life by a compass not by the clock.  The CLOCK represents our commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, activities - they drive our behavior and condition our responses.  The COMPASS represents our vision, values, principles, mission, direction and destiny - what we feel is important, what we believe should lead our lives.

Are you living your life proactively or reactively?

What is the condition of your inner core?

How do your beliefs and values impact your behavior?

Do you live your life by the ‘clock’ or the ‘compass?’

What changes need to be made to live a ‘centered’ life?


To be continued…

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