In this season, God has really been dealing with me about my life’s work and my calling to develop others. I have begun to realize how precious the time is that I have left, so what I do with that time, and who I invest it in, is extremely important. We are placed here by God for a reason, and that reason has a two-fold purpose. Number one, to accomplish our own destiny, and number two, to impact and influence the destiny of others. When those two purposes intersect, it is invigorating and life-changing for everyone. However, when relationships exist where the dots just don’t connect, these become a distraction that short circuits the purposes of God for everyone.
The truth is, we must know where people are in our circles of life, and then devote our time, and invest our lives, according to the circle in which they fall. If you have set your life up correctly from the beginning, you are already in good shape. You, and those in your circles, are reaping the rewards of being correctly aligned. Your time and energies have been invested in the right amounts, and in the right people, which set you both on a collision course with destiny. I have seen this working seamlessly in some mighty men and women of God, and it is amazing to behold. I have also seen the opposite happen in my own life, and it was heart breaking. Time and energy was poured into individuals who were living in my outer circles. They were far removed from the purposes of God in my life, either by choice or by chance, but I missed it. This was not only a distraction for both of us, even more tragic, it robbed others in my inner circles, of the time and personal care I should have been investing in them.
God showed me that the circles of my life are concentric rings of influence that surround me. The closer they are to the core of who I am, the more important they are to my destiny and well-being, and the destiny and well-being of others. Those circles closest to me must always be my personal priority. My time, attention and care must always be devoted to them first, and these people must know they will always be in my line of sight. As I move outward from those primary circles, things change. How much time I devote, how available I am on a regular basis, and how much they may influence me, all becomes relative. Basically, the further someone is from the purposes of God for my life, the less vital that relationship is. I will always care, but the outer circles should never get my time, or availability, designed for those in the inner circles.
Circle 1 for me is my personal relationship with God. This is always the top priority if I am to stay healthy and balanced in life. Circle 2 is my wife and family. No matter what, I am ready to help, serve and be available for them any time of the day or night. In circle 3 are those who are the real doers in our church, and fellow ministers I work with. They are with me, have my back, help carry the vision and help carry the load. They joined up and hook up all the way and they serve with good hearts. I am always ready to hear them and serve them. When they call I pick up the phone. When they need me I am there. When they want to get coffee or spend time with me, I am available. The point is, our destinies, vision and service are all interconnected on a very personal level. These are my ministry companions and others are my sons and daughters in the faith who will get an inheritance, and be part of my legacy, when I am gone. As it has been said, “they will carry on when I am carried out”!
Those in circle 4 all are part of my church. They help as they can and are more-or-less faithful in giving and serving in any assigned responsibility. They do what they can, when they can, and for the most part I can depend on them. Some may not show up at the last minute, and others may have to cover for them. In circle 5 are those who come to church but never become a part of it. They may or may not give. They may come for work days or men’s and women’s meetings, but they are basically long term visitors. It is nice to see them, but I don’t depend on them to be on time or carry any of the load. There will be no training for these people, they will have little growth and I don’t expect them to do much more than show up when it works for them. They like the blessing and benefit of our church, but don’t like responsibility and don’t want to submit under authority. These people will never really find their place or do much in the Kingdom.
Finally, we have those in circle 6. This is the outer ring and the resting place of everyone else. They are basically just out there doing what they do. These may be friends or acquaintances, or those who simply intersect my path periodically as I am living the life God gave me. They come and they go, but they really are more like shadow figures who are not going where I am going and have no clear direction in life. Some are there to be evangelized, while others are those behind the counter I am kind to and want to bring to Christ. Those in circle 6 don’t ask deep spiritual questions and they don’t really want to know what is going on with me. They contribute nothing to the real purposes of God for my life and I an able to put very little into theirs.
What are your circles of life? Are they clearly defined for you and for those who surround you? If not, then you are probably doing what I did for way too many years. You are wasting the treasure of invested time, personal care and spiritual commitment on those who are not intimately connected to the purposes of God for your life. They may invade your space from time to time, and when they leave nothing has really changed. Love everyone, serve all those you can with a good and honest heart and be kind. However, when you give the right stuff to the wrong people, you are selling your greatest treasure to the lowest bidder, and that hurts everyone. If it continues, you will not fulfill the purpose of God for your life, and neither will they.
Let me encourage you to get your circles of life in order. They are like a “bulls eye” that every thing will be focused on. if you make them clear it’s easy to hit the mark and move forward with life. If you don’t everyone will suffer. Why not begin to day to clarify your circles of life? You will feel the pleasure of God in all you do. Trust me when I tell you that there is no better way to live life, and no better way to help others do the same!