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Reflections on Bob Buford's Half Time
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
"I am a pilgrim,
not in control
A Steward, not an owner
A Soldier, not [one] with security."
From Buford, Robert. Half Time, p. 58
His thoughts relative to "Half Time" are applicable for all Christians...including pastors. So often it seems that just as pastors are experiencing and enjoying the prime moments of their ministries, an unparalleled crisis occurs. Such dramatic events cause pastors to engage in deep spiritual reflection, questioning the very essence of their calling, being, and purpose under God. This is the nature of "half time."
Such personal crises are not to be "palmed-off "or disregarded lightly as "midlife crises." Instead, because these crises may repeat themselves without warning, these half time experiences are important opportunities to consider those spiritual and existential issues which permeate and shape our response of faith, the nature and character of our ministry, and our entire being.
Half Time Issues
- Asking, "Whats it all for?" Half time causes us to begin to really pay attention to life. Its more than just thrills. It has a purpose. Gods purpose.
- How Can I Grow From The Pain?: After discovering that loss is survivable and that the pain of losing is part of life, a purpose of half time is to discover how patiently enduring the pain may help uncover some of the most valued aspects of yourself you would have otherwise not seen.
- My Will My Epitaph Will Be?: Crises help us to develop different foci for almost every critical area in our lives.. Instead of emphasizing, "Look what did I do today!" the half time experience causes us to reflect, "When my life is over, for what will people will remember me?"
- The True Value Of Life: Much of the half time experience, Buford noted, is centered in the question, "If my life were absolutely perfect, what would I be doing now?"
- Seeking And Affirming Our Unique Personal Value: Quoting Soren Kierkegaard, Buford suggested another goal of half time--to see what God desires of us. "The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do to find the idea for which I can live and die."
Of course there are other issues which may also be considered during our half time crises.. Such issues, might also include
- Re-examining, adjusting and affirming our relationship and connected-ness with God;
- Developing a "Blueprint" or pathway which will lay out a path for us in our grief;
- Re-Assessing which personal and ministry relationships really matter; and other major personal and professional issues.
First Half Vs. Second
|Ones Main Duty||I'll Do What Im Good At||I'll Do What I Love|
|Focus of energies||Toward Anothers Dream, Focus||Toward Personal Goal, Focus|
|Intellects Energy Drive||To Knowledge||To Wisdom|
|Energy Direction||Rush To Success, the "top"||Greater Meaning/Inner Fulfillment|
|Goal||Keeping Score "Win"||Finishing "Well"|
|Fulfillment||In Success||In Enjoyment Of What One Values Most|
|Desire of Energies||World Adventure||Inner Truth-Seeking|
|Self-Perception||Indestructible||Temporal With Limited Life Span|
|Winning||By Domination||By Wise Choices|
|Attitude Toward Gain||What
Am I Willing To
Risk For Gain?
|What Will I Sacrifice or Lose If I Achieve All This Gain?|
|Driving Force.||Externals, Rewards, Recognition||The Call Of The "Inner Voice"|
|Life's Greatest Joy||The Thrill in Getting There||Arriving There And Savoring It|
|Sense Of Time||Immortal And Forever Young||Awareness
Bell Tolls...For Thee"
Silent Listening To The Still, Small Voice
Rushed and Hurried
Patiently Taking Time
|Levels of Urgency||
Get It DoneYesterday!
Take Time, Contemplate
Concerned with Passion
Focus on Inner Peacefulness
Driven by Externals
Driven by Deliberate Action
- Am I missing anything in my life right now thats important to me?
- What am I passionate about? Is it helping me live a balanced life?
- Who am I? How do I feel about that?
- What do I value?
- What do I want to be doing in ten years? In twenty?
- What gifts has God given me that have been perfected over time?
- What would I be willing to die for?
- What is it about my joy [ministry] that makes me feel trapped?
- What realistic changes can I make in my employment [vis a vis ministry]?
- Would I be willing to take a less stressful (and less paying) job in order to be happierto be closer to my true self? (Pastors might ask, "Would I be willing to take a less stressful church or ministry at less payto receive a greater sense of joy in the use of my ministry gifts?")
- What steps do I need to take tomorrow in order to have a second half that is better than my first half?
- With whom will I share this journey? Who will be my mentors, models, and inspirations?
- Have I been honest with my responses to the above?
* cf. Half Time, pp. 68-72.
What is the one thing in your life which will fill the hollow place located centrally within us and satisfy the core desire of our soul?
Asked in another way,
"What is it that God has prepared in advance for YOU do for His sake and your inner and eternal joy?" (Ephesians 2:10).
Let God, Let Go, and Get Ready for the most joyful part of your ministrythe Second Half!
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This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:51 PM