The Jones Dictum
January 2, 2019
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm…” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV 1984).
We met for two hours and worked for the Lord—an important ministry in Christian healthcare. Our future work was time sensitive, so we scheduled a telephone conference for the nine of us. The time chosen by the committee was a night when I was on vacation with my family. As an overworking doctor, I gather all of my kids and grandkids once a year to enjoy life together. The committee’s telephone time would land during dinner on one of those vacation nights…and I have spent too many years choosing work and ministry over family. As trivial as it may seem to many who serve the Lord sacrificially, and as atypical as it has been for me in the past, I told the committee, “I won’t miss dinner with my family. I’ll join you once our fellowship is finished.”
I don’t know where this came from, especially for me, to choose family over ministry—or, perhaps I do. A dear friend, and one of the really wise men in my life, is Ken Jones, a Master Life Coach with CMDA. Ken recently addressed a group of doctors in my hometown with the following instruction, “Each of us has to determine: What I stand for—What I don’t stand for—and What I won’t stand for.” I have personally labeled this the Jones Dictum. (Sorry, Ken).
All three of these declarations are vitally important.
There are issues in my life that I simply must take a stand for: issues of principal, family and faith. Have I chosen where to plant my feet and stand firm?
There are issues that are relatively unimportant in God’s mission for my life. I don’t need to stand for these at all and should not engage such issues, for they take time, energy and money away from matters of true importance.
And it is essential, for God’s purpose and for my family, that I identify issues that I won’t stand for: issues I will absolutely oppose and dedicate time, energy and money to stop.
Many of us face burnout because we put up with pressures that would change if we refused to stand for them. Many of us have no room for the important because less important activities crowd out that which we know is best. Many of us look back on years with no battles won because we have never chosen a cause worth fighting for.
I personally need to review all activities of my life in light of my friend’s dictum. In the one small ministry related battlefield above, I have taken a stand for my family. That’s a stand worth taking for many of us and I pray God is clapping. But there is so much more. Some stuff I’m doing needs to go. And there are new places I need to plant my feet, for His glory.
Help me stand with You.