I am reminded that the end of the financial year in the United Kingdom is also the time when many appraisals or performance reviews take place, a chance to see whether we have reached our goals. From my past experiences as a lawyer, these could range from affirming and encouraging to toe-curlingly awful!
As a Salvation Army officer, I have a couple of months to await mine, as I meet up with fellow College mates when we attend our Into Officership First Year Review in June.
Reflecting on Our Goals in Life
As spiritual leaders it is good to ask ourselves, before God, what are our goals in life? An appraisal, if you like. What are your goals in life? We may have many worthy goals. We might cite a mission statement: Save Souls, Grow Saints, Serve Suffering Humanity, for example. Another slogan might come to mind: Transformation, Integration, Discipleship and Effectiveness. Some might quote the Bible: Love God and Others, Make Disciples, and so on.
As I have prepared to preach over the next couple of weeks, I have spent a good deal of time with John 15:1-8 (NIVUK):
The vine and the branches
15 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
To Be With Jesus
As I have studied this passage more and more, I have come to the conviction that if every Christian leader – every Christian – myself included decided simply to be with Jesus, then all other godly goals we might long for would simply fall into place. Want to save souls? Be with Jesus! Want to grow saints? Be with Jesus! Want to serve suffering humanity? Be with Jesus! Want transformation, integration, discipleship, effectiveness? Be with Jesus! Want to love God and others? Be with Jesus! Want to make disciples? Be with Jesus! Remain in him. Abide in him. Rest in him. Make your home in him.
Spend time with Jesus. Do everything that you do, moment by moment, day by day, conscious of his presence with you. As we spend time with him and get to know him better, the goals we truly want in life, the purpose God has for each one of us will become clear.
As a spiritual leader, how do you abide in Jesus each day? Can you see how this is connected to the goal of your ministry? Why not comment below.
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[Image by DoDEA on Flickr Creative Commons]