Weekly Thought – October 17, 2017
Fred’s final book was entitled Breakfast With Fred. The publishers gave it a tag line: “Mentor to a generation of leaders.” Although that is not numerically measured, the anecdotal information is readily available. His wisdom which he quickly attributed to God, was a gift for which he was grateful. Another gift was his wife of 67 Mary Alice whose 102nd birthday would have been October 18th.
Keep On Questioning
(The AM/PM group asked Fred to capture some of the mentoring questions they discussed monthly. Later on, the BWF Project asked him to give his thumbnail answers to them. Fred had no preparation – these are his top of mind responses while lying in his hospital bed.)
1) How do I use small bits of time? I organize them to use these small snatches of time. Expect them to come and when they do then be prepared to utilize them. For an example, one of the greatest female executives I know carried note cards with her. Whenever she had to wait and had a little bit of extra time, would write personal notes and keep up with her friends. Red Motley, CEO of Parade magazine used these times to write personal notes in red pencil. Grady Wilson of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the organization had the habit of using extra moments to contact friends. A businessman I knew in Chicago would walk between appointments and quote memorized scripture. Another friend of mine runs every morning, praying for hundreds of people while he covers mile after mile. Too many people think they have to make plans to write elegant letters requiring great time and crafting. Most people appreciate quick notes which show they are on someone’s mind. These little bits of time can be productive if we are creative and practical.
2) Am I more efficient or effective (i.e. orderly or organized)? Our esteemed friend Elizabeth Elliot was on a few days of vacation where Mary Alice and I were. In a conversation she asked if I were orderly. I knew my wife would give a truthful answer saying I was casual (usually known as sloppy). I told Elizabeth I was not orderly, but organized. I think orderliness takes too high a priority for many. Being organized means that while it looks disorganized (especially to my very neat wife) it isn’t because I can put my hand on anything I want. Being able to get my work done makes the difference. I often remind Mary Alice of the scripture admonition to not worry about the mess created when the donkey is threshing the grain. I am sure that is my paraphrase! In defense of orderliness it is an excellent quality in a manufacturing environment because it promotes precision. I always looked for it as I visited plants.
3) Am I called or driven? As I remember Gordon McDonald had an interesting book showing the difference between being called and being driven. To me it is a matter of doing what you enjoy and in line with your talents than doing something you have let yourself become required to do. I have long thought most situations in life either challenge us or threaten us. If we have a positive attitude about our opportunities then I think of them as challenges. If we are afraid and withdraw from opportunities then it seems we are threatened. Challenges give us confidence and energy; threats enervate us.
This week consider: 1) Am I called or driven? 2) How well do I use my time? 3) Which do I value more: orderliness or organization?
Words of Wisdom: “I have long thought most situations in life either challenge us or threaten us.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40 NET Bible)