The Scorecard

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There are two scorecards we can use to tally our success.

There are two scorecards we can use to tally our success.

How do you gauge how you are doing? Everyone has a scorecard. It is probably not a physical scorecard, where personal or professional progress is tracked. Most of us keep a tally of certain things that end up measuring whether we feel we are succeeding or not. We get a feeling of satisfaction or discontent from those metrics.

There are outer scorecards. Calculations are made using pedigree, place, profit, or professing principles (just professing them is sometimes enough, without keeping them.) I am not discounting what can be known about someone by some of these visible metrics. However, the exterior life can be deceiving. Not only can it be used to trick others, it is easy to trick ourselves.

The best corrective to the potential deception of an outer scorecard is an inner scorecard. An inner scorecard is the satisfaction we feel with who we are. To be clear, the inner scorecard is not about reputation. It has nothing to do with who others think we are. There is ultimately no satisfaction in the false rewards of reputation.

I see Paul outlining an outer and inner scorecard in Philippians 3:4-9. He defines an outer scorecard as “confidence in the flesh” (v.4). These were things like ethnicity (Israelite, Benjamite, Hebrew), title (Pharisee), action (persecutor), morality (by the book). At some point though, he says he crumpled up that scorecard (v.7). The new, inner scorecard he started using was simply “to be found in him” (v.9). Paul was motivated to be true to the one opinion that counts.

The inner scorecard always trumps the outer scorecard. No matter the background, how impressive the title, what we have built, or even the standards we have managed to maintain; if we don’t feel on the inside that we are lining up with the way things really are on the outside, we will never be satisfied and never receive approval from the One opinion that ultimately matters.

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Satisfaction, Success, and Significance

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Significance comes from making a difference that lasts.

Significance comes from making a difference that lasts.

I love the Model X Tesla. I know that is a poor use of the word love. Go ahead and judge me—I’ll take it. The Model X is an all-electric car with doors that open above the roof. They are called falcon wings—their take on the Mercedes 300 Gullwing. It’s a car that melts the soul.

It would be satisfying

It would be satisfying to own a Model X Tesla. In theory I could buy one. I would have to sacrifice a couple of my kids’ weddings and college educations. But in theory, it is an attainable goal.

Reaching that goal

How satisfying would reaching that goal be? Teslas have an 8 year unlimited mileage warranty. There are test models which have had over 500,000 miles put on them. Let’s say I maintained it well, kept the rust off, and had good fortune with the computer system. Maybe I could enjoy it for 20 years.

A point in time

There is a satisfaction that comes from the success of reaching a goal. My definition of success is a goal reached at a point in time. Being the owner of a Model X (reaching that goal) would create a measure of satisfaction; maybe for as long as 20 years.

Last over time

By contrast, there is a satisfaction that comes from significance. My definition of significance is making a difference that lasts over time. The longer the impact lasts, the more significant it is.

Limited satisfaction

I have reached many goals up to this point in my life. I am sure you have, too. I have bought houses, started programs, and built businesses. There are many successes I can look to as accomplishments. All were goals I set out to reach that happened in a point in time. But the satisfaction from those accomplishments has been limited.

Lasting significance

I want to give myself to more than successes though. I want to be able to say I have done something that had some staying power. There may be a few items that get passed on to my kids or grandkids that last beyond me. But there is something in me that wants to know what I am giving myself to has eternal significance.

A life of significance

What are those areas where a difference can be made that last over time? What impact can be made that lasts throughout time? What are the eternal investments that can be made? Jesus said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10 NLT) I think Jesus wants you to experience the satisfaction that comes from successes. However, more than the limited satisfaction of success, he wants you to have the unlimited satisfaction of a life of significance.

An eternal mark

There is nothing more lasting than a soul. A Model X may melt the soul, but it doesn’t make an eternal mark on the soul. This idea is clarifying for me. Is there a more worthwhile place to attempt to make a difference than a soul that will live for eternity? Can anything compare to the significance found in impacting a soul that last beyond time?

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You Have Enough

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enough

 

I heard a story of a group of leaders who were sitting around a table at dinner bemoaning the scant resources they had to work with. The gist of the conversation was if they only had more they would be able to accomplish so much more. If only they had more leaders to deploy, more staff to help administrate things, and more money to pay for it all. The problem, in the mind of these leaders, was that they did not have enough.

 

Bob Logan, a well-known coach, especially in the area of starting churches, had been sitting quietly as he listened to this complaint-fest. Finally, he couldn’t take it any more. Quietly, but authoritatively, he said, “Gentlemen, God has given you everything you need to accomplish the work he has given you to do. If you don’t feel you have the resources you need, either, you are trying to do what God has not asked you to do, or, you are not being a good steward of what you already have.”

 

2 Peter 1:3 is the definitive verse on this topic: “His [Jesus our Lord, cf v2] divine power [no greater source than that] has given [it is already in our possession] us [we must think interdependently] everything [that pretty much covers it all] needed [it doesn’t say desired] for life [that’s a big category too] and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

 

If you don’t feel you have enough, you need to rethink your position. I can think of three critical areas where there is enough. And it’s enough to keep you busy and enough to accomplish a great deal.

 

Gifts

You have enough people gifted by God. Each person you have been called to oversee and steward has been divinely gifted for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). Even if your church is down to a dozen people, that is twelve people supernaturally endowed by God to manifest something beautiful (remember, gifts is charis which is beauty) through them. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says the Spirit “allots to each one individually” so everyone is gifted, and everyone is gifted uniquely. As a leader, you are to draw out and affirm that gift. You also, need to develop that gift. That is part of your equipping role, according to Ephesians 4. That alone is enough to keep you busy.

 

Gospel

The message you have is enough. Romans 1:16 says the gospel “is the power of God for salvation.” There is no greater power than the power of God. This is the power which flows from the message of the cosmic plan of God, from before the foundation of the world, which he fulfilled through the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is the message that makes people whole. It is enough to meet the need people have to be saved from the wrath of a righteous God.

 

Grace

There is enough grace. Paul realized how ridiculous ministry really is. Messed-up, fragmented, often mean people (Christians, in case you didn’t realize) are telling other people the way to be right with God. Paul told one of his congregations, “Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence us from God.” ( 2 Cor 3:5) Paul understood how weak he was to accomplish any part of the work of God in people. Paul also understood God’s grace was enough. God had revealed that truth to him directly: “My grace is sufficient  for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)

 

You have enough. It’s all there. If you still don’t feel you have enough, you must ask yourself the question whether you are trying to do something God has not asked you to do or whether you’re simply squandering what you have.

 

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