Monday, March 31, 2008

If I'd known back then what I know now...

I'm pretty nostalgic these days. In case you're wondering why, it's because I'm currently reading my sister's manuscript for a book she is planning on having published. Her working title is 100 things I wish my mother had told me. I know, I know, there are a gazillion books out there with similar titles... but this one's special. This one speaks directly to my heritage and it brings back memories of my childhood that have shaped my worldview and my outlook on life.

I thinks it's a really amazing gift for her daughter (which is her professed reason for writing the book in the first place) who otherwise has little or no insight into her Nigerian heritage since she has lived all of her life in the UK. I must admit that the book has got me thinking about a few things I wish I'd learned earlier on. Apparently there are quite a few of us who wish we'd known back then what we know now. Perry Noble and Craig Groeschel have both posted blogs on things they wish they'd known earlier on in ministry, and I found both their blogs on the subject to be extremely eye opening.

Here are a few things I wish I'd known earlier on:
  • Not everyone who starts out professing their commitment to you will stay with you during the tough times.
  • If you define success in ministry exclusively by what happens each Sunday, you will quickly determine that you are a failure.
  • God is much smarter than me! (Go figure, right?)
  • Great preaching isn't the formula for a great church.
  • You must commit yourself to doing what God called you to do no matter how many dissenting voices there are.
  • God defines success by obedience and not by perceived results.
  • God will do what He will do inspite of you and not because of you.
  • Pastoral ministry can sometimes be thankless and painful yet incredibly rewarding.

What have you learned now that you wish you knew earlier in life or ministry?


Jessy said...

great post. I can't wait to read your sister's book. When is it expected to be published? My fav part of your blog is how God defines our success based on obedience not on the results, or how we perceive them. That's so difficult at times, especially when the results are rather icky.

Hope said...

I wish that someone would have told me about Jesus - not the story of "baby Jesus in a manger" the whole story! I had to find out the hard way.

Joseph said...

Jessy, thanks for you kind comment. My sister's book should be published before the end of 2008. It is true that it is often difficult to accept the idea of success when the physical results seem to suggest differently. I personally have to remind myself that defining success any other way suggests that it's up to me and not up to God.

Thea said...

"Commit yourself to doing what God called you to do no matter how many dissenting voices there are" - this can be so hard, especially when the dissenting voices are the voices of those you love the most...a timely reminder for me. It's the whole "audience of one" thing - I try to remind myself that ultimately I will stand before God lends me perspective to say the least. What awesome wisdom in that short list - I'm really looking forward to reading this when it comes out!

Joseph said...

Hope, that's the enemy's ploy. If he can keep us thinking of Jesus as a baby, or of a purely historical Jesus, then the power of Christianity is diminished. Our hope lies in the fact that the tomb is empty even today.

Thea, your kind comments are truly appreciated. You know, if the voices of dissension weren't the voices of people we have grown to love and trust, it would be so much easier to deal with them wouldn't it? said...

WOW yeah! its a great concept, what about the 100 things I knew I should have done but I didn't even listen to myself. I hope the book gets finished and goes well, great blog by the way.

Joseph said...

Dennis, thanks for joining the conversation. Yeah, I can relate. I could write a book about the things I should have done but didn't.