Five Things?

Five things? That was the question. What are the top five things you need to work on right now and how are you going to pursue them?

Because of my position at the seminary, I have the privilege of overseeing several offices and a great team of people. We have a weekly time together we call our STATUS meeting. That stands for “Strategic Team And Tactic Update” (Yes, I am full of them!). This is our staff meeting and strategy discussion time. We discuss everything from upcoming projects to ongoing programs to calendars, etc. but we also try to hit on our mission and vision. Why are we here doing what we do? How can we do it better to His glory?

So a week or two ago I asked each leader to submit the answer to the above question. I wanted to know what their current priorities were and how I could best help them succeed at accomplishing them. I mean, I have my own five things (or 500!) but as their leader I need to know what they think is most important and I also need to know what they need from me to best help them. I asked them specifically about their department roles here at the seminary.

Since they submitted their lists, I have been reading through their top fives. These folks have a lot going on. I am impressed with them and what they are seeking to do. It has already helped me to think through my own professional priorities and my top five. How can I mentor, lead, disciple and walk alongside of these great leaders as they work through their issues?

Five things. Makes you think for a moment if you will stop long enough and allow it to. What are the five most important things you should be working on right now? Are you working on them? Will you? When will you? Why not? What are the distractions, the time leeches, the empty busyness, and the obstacles that keep you from the top five things? What are your personal five? Your family five? Your ministry five? Your overall five? What about the people with whom you serve? What are their five? How could you help them accomplish those five things?

I recognize we must, as Aubrey Malphurs once said, “Hold your plans before the sovereign God of the universe in an open hand.” And that, in and of myself, my decisions about my top five things will be flawed. Proverbs 19:21 states, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” But if prayerfully and biblically I begin to ask God to help me to truly understand the most important things on which to spend my best time and energy, I do believe He will help me to understand them. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” And v. 9 adds, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

It seems wise, then, to conclude with a prayer: Lord, help me to know the most important things I should be doing to bring you glory. Help me to prioritize them and focus my best energy upon them. You tell me in Proverbs 14:15, “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” Please help me to be prudent about my top five things.