I recently read a fascinating article in Christianity Today in which Billy Graham was asked, “If you could, would you go back and do anything differently?” It’s the classic do-over question.
His response is flavored with rich wisdom, “Yes, of course. I’d spend more time at home with my family, and I’d study more and preach less. I wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do-weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that. Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.
I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often, they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.”
I love Graham’s response. “Guard your time. Don’t feel like you have to do everything.”
A few years ago, one of the guys I mentored asked me if I had it all to do over again in my writing career, what I would do differently. I said, “Rather than invest all my energy in writing for religious publications, I would have focused my attention on writing for secular publications and spreading the Good News that way.”
What’s amazing is that the guy took my do-over to heart. Today, he’s published in everything from the Washington Post to the Huffington Post to CNN.com, and I couldn’t be more proud.
May we learn from each other’s do-overs. And for those of us in ministry, may we all learn from Billy Graham’s.
What would your great do-over in life, ministry, or leadership be?