In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he says, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” First, Paul tells Timothy to watch his life closely. Why? Because a pastor cannot quench the thirst of others with an empty cup.
Sometimes you hear the question: What will they say about you at your funeral?
But I’m not sure how many people care what’s said at their funeral. After all, at your funeral, you’re dead. A far more intimidating question is: What will they say about you at your retirement party? You’ll have to listen (or pretend to listen) to every word of those speeches.
Martin Luther was a 16th century German cowboy with a one-trick pony called "Gospel." Utterly obsessed with the subject, this firebrand monk once wrote that “the truth of the Gospel is the principal article of all Christian doctrine . . . Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” If you went to dinner with this guy, you could depend on coming away with a greater sense of why Jesus matters.
Several years ago, I attended a training workshop in which noted author Alan Hirsch said the following, “Your system is perfectly designed for the results that you are getting.” This statement has challenged me in the years since, for a variety of reasons. It has caused me to spend more time evaluating my programs and processes to see if they are functioning effectively. It has forced me to think about the results I hope to see happen. And perhaps, most importantly, it has provoked me to ask why we do what we do, the purpose and reason behind our efforts.