Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Second Half of Life

When work for most people meant manual labor, there was no need to worry about the second half of your life.  You simply kept on doing what you had always done. And if you were lucky enough to survive 40 years of hard work in the mill or on the railroad, you were quite happy to spend the rest of your life doing nothing. Today, however, most work is knowledge work, and knowledge workers are not "finished" after 40 years on the job, they are merely bored.
Peter Drucker, Harvard Business Review, 1999

  This quote by Peter Drucker, easily the most influential writer about modern business management, is taken from an article titled Manage Oneself.  He is pushing us to see the bigger picture: to move beyond the now, the immediate, and instead see life as a whole.
  Surely, the same can be applied with great results to organizations beyond the profit-driven world of business.  What lessons can the church learn from such thinking?  What provocative questions for the church arise when thoughts about the second half of our life begin to appear?  Are there areas of ministry that take on added value when we are able to take time out from the now, and turn our attention to the not-yet?  How would it change our focus?  How would we act differently?  Borrowing Drucker's words, how can we stay inspired by ministry, and avoid boredom?
  I believe this week’s Vacation Bible School is one small answer to many of those questions.  Children don’t contribute to the financial bottom-line of a church’s budget, they actually take from it, but their value is far greater than dollars and sense, isn’t it?  They redirect us to the future.  They offer hope that what we are doing in the now might be carried on for God’s Kingdom purposes into the not-yet.  The ways we engage and invest in ministries of children, youth, and missions will shape the second half of our life.  And that is something worth thinking about, as our church is just weeks away from celebrating its 50th birthday.  Grace and Peace to you, Scott

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