Struggle For People

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk (who, along with writers of Polka songs, are pretty much the only people I listen to).

He has one of my favorite quotes, and it’s especially pertinent for pastors who start churches for people who don’t like church (or others doing difficult work for God). Merton wrote:

Do not depend on the hope of results … you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.  …  you gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people.

As someone who’s personality type is called “Results Oriented” on the DiSC test, I need to stay focused on this. Results are up to God, and are uncertain, especially when you choose a path like I have. And so you don’t struggle for results, you struggle for people.

When you struggle for results, if you don’t get the results, you feel like you’ve failed. When you struggle for people, if you don’t get the results, you feel like your work was still valuable.

Stupid Trappist monks, they get it right every time.