July 25, 2011
Everyone has their rituals, especially on Sunday. Mine are engrained: up at 5:00a; S’bucks by 5:30; Sunday paper, beginning-to-end; run six miles… and be at church 10 minutes before the kick-off.
Yesterday, I lingered at the Obituaries. Mortals (my peeps) warrant a brief mention, about the size of a private-party used-car ad. Luminaries get ‘lotsa’ space, and there were two biggies yesterday.
First, with a full half-page: Amy Winehouse. “ British retro-soul singer Amy Jade Winehouse, who was found dead Saturday in her London apartment, had a penchant for living recklessly – she battled alcoholism and drug addiction, both of which often threatened to derail her career and usually eclipsed her talent. Winehouse was 27…” (monstersandcritics.com).
On the facing page was a mere column – not a half-page, but 1/8 th of that allocation – for John Shalikashvili: “ Retired General John Shalikashvili, an immigrant who rose to the position of Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1990s, has died. He was 75. Shalikashvili was born in Poland of Georgian parents. He came to the United States as a teenager, learned English from John Wayne movies and rose to become the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military. Shalikashvili served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997…” (Yahoo! Finance).
Every death is a reminder of mortality, but every life is a reminder of legacy. Each of us has a brief appearance on life’s stage; the great challenge – for all of us – is to leave our indelible mark on history in some significant way.
The inherent assumption is that our identity is most clarified in our career role(s). What we do for money becomes a short answer to the “who am I?” question. For Winehouse, “singer” was the answer. For Shalikashvili, “warrior/ statesman” was the headline.
Last week, Paris Hilton “died” in the midst of an interview with Dan Harris, for Good Morning America. Harris was acting like a journalist when he asked the Celebutante: “Do you ever worry about your moment having passed?” With that, she walked off-set and threatened to end the interview.
When coerced to come back, her response was interesting: “I’ve been in this business for 15 years now. Just like any other business person – or someone in industry – it’s always important to reinvent yourself and come up with new projects…” This business? Just like any other business person? What business, exactly, is she in?
Peter Drucker had nothing to say about the “famous for being famous” phenomenon, but he had a lot to say about business. His wisdom was of value in any business, and his ability to expose truth was found in bringing the right questions to bear: 1) What is your business? 2) Who is your customer? 3) What does your customer consider value? 4) What have been your results? and, 5) What is your plan? Answers to those foundational issues are the pillars of potential for any viable business…
Every Christian posted in a career role is under orders from Headquarters: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
That makes every minute spent by a child of God a moment of meaning in the Big Picture of Eternity!
To be clear: whatever your career role (Q #1), in the eyes of God, He is your primary customer (Q #2), and producing results that He values (Q #3) and can measure (Q #4) should be the result of you having – and, working – a plan for your career (Q #5)!
If Ms. Hilton was a Christian (no indication of that, publicly), she would need to consider whether or not her Customer (the Lord Jesus) values the “results” that she produces in her “business”…
Easy to shoot at her résumé, isn’t it? The bigger question: how about me, and you?