An exercise that I encouraged our staff to embrace was to create their plumb lines for ministry. A plumb line is defined in the web's free dictionary as:
1. A line from which a weight is suspended to determine verticality or depth.
2. A line regarded as directed exactly toward the earth's center of gravity.
In reference to ministry, a plumb line are commitments that you make to yourself that help evaluate and remind yourself what "true center" is. They are principles that, when reviewed, will show you where you may be a bit "off" in your focus or direction. Here are my plumb lines that I created and attempt to live by:
Work hard at things that make an impact. Find easy wins if you can that will motivate you to tackle bigger projects. But don't take short cuts that short circuit excellence.
Mind the details. There are all kinds of folks in this world who won't care that you misspelled something. But there are some that will write you off because you do. Think twice. Reread. Walk through an event in your mind with others ahead of time. Look for nice, extra touches that communicate thoughtfulness.
Keep your soul stoked. The Word is your kindling. Submission to the Spirit is your fire. Neglect this, and the weight of your busyness and enormity of your vision will always collapse into the cavity that has become your soul.
It's about people. Don't let your love for the "church" obscure your love for the people. if you're not investing in individuals, what are you really doing that is of eternal value? Jesus didn't have to invest in individuals, but He did.
Be punctual. When you're not, it's not cute or funny. It's also not "just you." You communicate that the world revolves around you, and it doesn't matter if you rob others of their time, waiting on you to show up.
Read. Obviously scripture, but beyond that, just read. Biographies, works of fiction, nonfiction, blogs, etc. Feed your mind. If you don't like to read, just take up smoking. It's a more intentional way of killing your brain.
Plumb lines are mentioned in several places in scripture, but this is one of my favorites:
And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,
“Behold, I am setting a plumb line
in the midst of my people Israel;
I will never again pass by them..(Amos 7:8 ESV)
I'd love to know at least one of your plumb lines, and if you should choose to sit down and write your own, leave me a link to what you develop.