Southland Christian Ministry Training

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Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

This week I came across a series of quotes from Stephen Covey, the writer of books such as Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The one that struck me went like this:

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it is the very simple things that are the most powerful? As I come to grips with retirement and seek to grapple with “who am I?” this quote reminds me of the fact I am not defined by my uniform or even my role. I will not cease to be “me” simply because I am no longer part of the Permanent Air Force (PAF), but I will need to work out what “the main thing” is!

As I looked back over my time in PAF, I was reminded of how often I had quoted and needed to be reminded of other another classic Covey statement which goes like this:

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important…the enemy of the best is often the good”.

I may try to make excuses suggesting that the chaplain is not always in control of these things but like everybody else I cannot absolve myself from making poor choices, because as Covey says somewhere else:

“I am not the product of my circumstances, I am the product of my decisions.”

So, in short, what am I going to decide is the main thing, to keep the main thing? After some serious thinking, seeking to be in tune with the above quotes, Covey suggests one package with four elements:

“Live, love, laugh and leave a legacy.”

That is something worth pondering! Yet for me there is one bit missing, faith! The Apostle Paul would define the main thing like this:

“I’ve found the recipe for being happy (content) whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am – Christ!”
(Phil 4:11-12, The Message)

What is your main thing?

Chaplain Ian S Whitley