Coronavirus has turned our lives upside down, leaving many feeling restless with the chaos, adjustments and uncertainty. Last week I found myself comparing our situation to what happens when people transition overseas. When missionaries leave their passport country for a different country and culture, it can be years before they can go home to embrace loved ones again, celebrate birthdays together or visit Grandpa and Grandma.
Fall is my favorite time of year!
It’s actually the only season of the year that I wish would last longer! I think it may be the crispness that is in the air that rejuvenates, and the abundance of fresh vegetables, and apples available. A few years ago during the fall, my sister and I canned some vegetables from our parent’s garden together, and I fell in love with the process. I now try to can seasonal fruits and vegetables when I am able.
“Kevin, you are all things to all men.”
I thought, “What a nice thing for him to say”, but he wasn’t giving me a compliment. You see, everything that came my way was another thing to do. The immediate need became my immediate focus. I felt that I needed to fix it because I was the leader. And the other things that I had started got put off to the side. By the end of the day I was tired, having accomplished little. I was in crisis management, quickly heading towards burn out. Sorry, but this is a very easy place for leaders to get to, especially in pioneering.
The longer I live the more I see that our lives are filled with failures. Tony Dungy says it this way, “ I am often introduced today as one of only three people to win a Super Bowl as a player and as a head coach. What they don’t say is that there were twenty-seven straight seasons that ended in disappointment between those two Super Bowl wins”1 He goes on to say “Success is really a journey of persistence and perseverance in spite of failure”2
John Maxwell in his book Failing Forward makes the observation that it is not the idea of if we will fail, it is more the question when will we fail? Everyone will fail. The key is how we move on from our failure.
“If you deal with every customer in the same way, you will only close 25 percent to 30 percent of your contacts because you will only close one personality type. But if you learn how to effectively work with all four personality types, you can conceivably close 100 percent of your contacts.”
This last week in the United States has been marked by the Republican National Convention, where the candidate representing the Republican Party at our Presidential election in November is announced and officially begins campaigning for the Presidency. Next week the Democratic Party gets their turn, wrapping up the conventions for the two major political parties.
A few months ago I sat with a group of CEOs who were reflecting on a statement John Maxwell makes in one of his books “ A truly valuable vision must have God in it. Only He knows your full capabilities. Have you looked beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime as you’ve sought your vision? If not you may be missing your true potential and life’s best for you.”1
A few years ago I was able to help my 4 year-old granddaughter learn to ride a bicycle. By the end of the summer she was really confident, and could ride all over her neighborhood. After having all winter off from bike riding, however, the next spring came and Madison was scared to try the bike for fear that she would fall. It took some encouraging but within an hour she was up and riding again with ease.
Like many missionaries, I seem to spend a lot of time in airports, which is a place where you may run into many different types of people. People watching is one of my favorite pastimes, especially while traveling.
As I read from Deuteronomy 17:14-20 this morning my mind went back to my Masters classes over the last few years where we studied this passage. Over the course of the program we focused on many different parts of this passage. But what stood out to me this morning as I read this again was verse 18, where God directs us that the King (leader) must make a copy of this himself.1 In his own hand writing.