Ten years ago the charity I work for set some key priorities as part of a wider vision because we wanted to do a few things well rather than lots of things poorly. That vision has served us well but over time the original sharp focus has been lost a little as various other ‘priorities’ have crept in. And so we are seeking to refocus with a new vision for the next 10 years.
As with organisations so it can be with each of us. Over time the numbers of plates we are trying to keep spinning in our day to day lives, seems to grow. I was recently explaining to a friend, two new activities I am hoping to do next year. They immediately asked what I was going to stop doing to enable these new things; a good question.
One of the extraordinary things about Jesus Christ was that his active ministry lasted just 3 years and yet, whatever we may personally believe about his teaching, he is undeniably one of the central figures of history. And one reason for this is that he was very clear about his focus and purpose. There are many examples in the four gospels of him purposefully deciding to do some things and, equally importantly, choosing not to do other things.
For many of us life can feel a bit relentless and sometimes that’s just how it is; family life for example can be a bit like that. But even so this can be a good time of year to think about our focus for the year ahead. Here are two questions I have found helpful: first, how could I do a little more of the things that most energise me and which play to my strengths; and do a little less of the things that don’t energise and I’m not great at anyway? And second, at the end of this coming year what, if I don’t at least try to do, will I most regret? One final thought - a trusted friend can often help think things through including, perhaps, gently pointing out our blind-spots. A very happy and purposeful New Year!
Revd Charles Burgess