Weekly Thought – December 1, 2020
Fred’s reputation for asking questions developed a strong following among those who wanted to acquire this skill. In various situations he formulated a series of questions he asked himself and others. This excerpt specifically addresses a way to look at difficult times.
Question Me This
Major trouble challenges our priorities. It also revises, and I might even say, purifies. We decide what really matters. Trouble also gives us an opportunity to look at the situation realistically and assess the odds. A friend, when faced with leukemia said, “I had always believed in God but for most of my life I couldn’t make sense of spiritual things, so I chose to just ignore the subject. I knew I would have to deal with my personal spirituality someday, but I wasn’t in any hurry to get around to it. Cancer changed that.” Often we see people who say, “After I get rich, I’ll get righteous.” This is the deception of money: it can distract us from what really matters. Instead of being a means – it becomes the end. Trouble can alter that perception in a hurry.
Major difficulties make us distill the essence of life in at least three basic ways spurring us to ask three questions:
1) What are my genuine necessities? So much of our time and effort is spent (or wasted)on the superficialities of life.
2) We ask ourselves “who am I becoming.” I once asked a man if he is becoming who he wanted to be. His answer: “Oh, no, but I intend to – someday.”
3) How do I want to be remembered? We see wealthy donors who want names on buildings; politicians who desire an historical legacy; and parents who want children who walk in faith. I am reminded of Fannie Crosby, the blind hymnist who wrote thousands of well-known and loved hymns. Her tombstone carries the simple epitaph: “Aunt Fannie: she did what she could.”
When we have answered these three questions we know how to spend out time, energy, and resources. The answers build a framework for prioritizing (and often re-prioritizing). We are stewards of our gifts and talents. Good management requires periodic assessment to make sure we are making the “highest and best” use of them.
At the beginning of the dark financial days of the 1980s a socially prominent couple came to see me. They told of sitting down and making a list of people with whom they spent time. Then they went back and made a second list of those who would be their friends if they went broke. This list was considerably shorter than the first. They went on to say they rearranged their social schedule to spend time with the second group.
Troubled times clarify. They prompt us to do a personal inventory and answer tough, but important questions.
This week carefully consider: 1) What am I learning during this challenging time? 2) Which question most quickly gets my attention? 3) How am I taking a personal inventory right now?
Words of Wisdom: “Major difficulties make us distill the essence of life spurring us to ask questions.”
Wisdom from the Word: “When the queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, she came to challenge him with difficult questions.” (1 Kings 10:1 NET Bible)