February 17, 2007

"Ordering Your Private World" (1)

Every two years or so I read Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald. Over the next few posts, I'll offer up some nuggets that I've dug from it.

The author, a pastor's son who also became a pastor compares his natural giftedness and fast start in the ministry, with some of his seminary classmates who "had to work harder, discipline themselves more carefully, and develop an inner depth that [he] had not found necessary to worry about."
Those who brought their lives into discipline or (and this is a favorite word of mine) intentionality would, more than likely, go on to long-term lives of fruitfulness, and their best years would be in the last half of their lives when discipline and depth paid off. And those like me, who relied heavily upon our natural giftedness, would reach some high point early in our lives and, more than likely, trail off into averageness for the last half of our days on earth.
We see this in the ministry but perhaps even more clearly in sports where careers are shorter and the spotlight is brighter. For every Michael Jordan or Ichiro Suzuki who discipline themselves into consistent greatness, there are dozens of others with more raw athleticism, the type who skip college, can't get along with coaches and teammates, or go to steroids for a shortcut, who end up a flash in the pan, or worse, disgraced and washed up.

I want to be one of those whose best years are in the last half of their lives.

2/18 Edit: I won't add any more nuggets for a while. A friend just borrowed my copy of the book.

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