Have you ever heard a quote that you just could not get out of your head? It is kind of like that annoying 80′s song that gets stuck in your brain and continues to play over and over, without letting up. I know you know what I am talking about! Well, I heard a quote the other day that continues to echo in my mind. The good thing is that this quote about being useful fits with what I believe is my life purpose!
I was listening to Jim Collins speak at the Catalyst conference in Atlanta. He was talking about an interview he had with Peter Drucker. Towards the end of the interview, Peter asked Jim for permission to offer him some advice. Jim, of course, was quick to agree! Who would refuse to take advice from Peter Drucker?!?
Drucker went on to say something to this effect (imagine his Austrian accent here)…
“Jim, you keep talking and thinking about survival…(pause)…You will probably survive. You also keep dwelling on success…(pause)…you will probably be successful. (longer pause)…Why don’t you go make yourself useful?“
Collins said he had no response. He said that quote has stuck with him since then.
Well, I just have to tell you that it has stuck with me as well. As I continue to hear it rattle around in my head, I wonder if I am truly being “useful.” Then I start to question what “useful” really means, in light of my faith, my (stewardship of His) business and an eternal perspective.
So I did what anyone would do this day and age…I googled it! Here is the Dictionary.com definition of useful:
Looking at the first definition, I keyed in on the words serving some purpose. Am I serving some purpose? What purpose should I be serving?
Serving Some Purpose
It is clear to me that Jesus has already told us what our purpose should be. When asked about the greatest commandment, He answered with two…”Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” His final instructions to us before He ascended was to “go and make disciples of all nations….” Now it is simply up to us to determine how He has gifted each of us to carry out, to serve, this purpose.
Of Practical Use
As for the second definition listed above, “of practical use,” it is similar, but I also see a little different perspective. I see myself as the tool in God’s hands – carrying out whatever practical work or task He has in mind for me. This requires my vision to be submitted to His. It requires me to be flexible, ready to change direction according to His will. In this definition, I see fewer grandiose projects and more washing of feet. I see God getting glory from the most menial of my tasks.
So, once I break it down…what is my answer? Am I making myself useful?
For me, I believe God has placed me in a position at the head of a family business for the purpose of loving and serving Him and others. I am to do this as a business leader, but I am also to serve this purpose as a godly husband, father, church member, neighbor and friend. Each of these roles requires a different approach and I may need to employ various methods or skills, depending on the role. Regardless, each of these roles should fulfill the core purpose Jesus laid out for me.
So, for now I will say I am definitely a work in process. I am learning and growing. I am striving to be and do those things that will result in hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I am certainly not there yet. I don’t suppose I will ever actually be there. At the same time, that is what the “making” is all about!
What about you? Are you too concerned with survival or success?
Are you making yourself useful?
What do you need to change to improve?
Originally posted 11/7/11