Today is my birthday. Reflecting on the last decade or so, here are ten lessons I’m learning.
1. Few things will serve you as well as an insatiable curiosity. Cultivate curiosity. Ask lots of questions. Spend time with lots of different kinds of people who are a lot different than you. Read widely. Ask for book recommendations from people you admire. Don’t be afraid to tackle any topic.
2. Serious study is so valuable not simply for knowledge acquisition, but because it teaches you how to think.
3. Leadership is about doing hard things. A good leader protects others by making the hard decisions, having the hard conversations, and executing the difficult tasks. The essence of leadership is not public notoriety, but quiet service.
4. Looking for God’s kind providence in your past will cultivate worship and keep you from bitterness.
5. If you don’t have good friends who are in their 60s and 70s, you’re missing out on a remarkable gift.
6. One of the most undervalued assets in life is a broad and deep relational network. Prioritize people even over tasks. Life is about people. Ministry happens with people. Relationships will change you in a way few other things will.
7. Cultivating a relationship with God will keep you from sin, keep you dependent, and keep you prayerful. Ignoring God will result in sin, make you independent and proud, and cause you to be prayerless.
8. Other Christians (and groups of Christians) are almost never as bad as you think. Take time to listen and understand “the other.”
9. Almost nothing is better for you spiritually than being a member of a church that treasures Jesus and celebrates his Gospel every Sunday. As a general rule, spend as much time at church as possible.
10. Family first. Laugh, play, pray, spend time together. Life is too short to not spend time with your family.