“Bear fruit – fruit that will last . . .” John 15:16
Clifford and Mozelle Killingsworth were neighbors of ours when I was growing up. They were gentle, kind, energetic people, active citizens in the community in almost every way. They especially loved children and young people and devoted themselves to leading and supporting organizations and activities that helped kids. They also owned and operated a lovely gift and jewelry store from which they were able to make a decent living and support a rather nice but modest lifestyle. Mostly, they were the kinds of folks who gave back much of what they gained. So it was because of their relationship with those of us kids in the community, when it came time for us to get married many of us consulted Clifford for the purchase of our rings. It wasn’t just about giving him the business, but more because there was something sacred about the experience of working with Clifford. . . . Years later when Clifford passed away I wrote a note to Mozelle in which I expressed my deep appreciation for the impact the two of them had had on my life, so much so that I felt a part of them would always live within me. Their lives, as you can see, bore fruit – fruit that will last.
Do you have a personal mission statement, a short sentence or phrase that sums up your purpose in life, your core values, something by which to measure every decision you make and action you take? Neither did I until a few years ago when someone urged me to write one. It was a much more difficult exercise than I ever imagined, crafting the exact right words that would authentically describe my purpose in life based on my gifts and personality and my deepest desires. It literally took me months and pages of wadded up scrap paper. Then, inspired by observing people like Clifford and Mozelle through the years, one day I read these words from John 15:16, “bear fruit – fruit that will last.” In an instant I knew that was it. Brief, concise, broadly encompassing, it covers every aspect of my life – marriage, family, business and professional life, how I spend my time and money, the friends I choose, the decisions I make and the actions I take.
If you don’t have a mission statement I urge you to write one. Live by it and your life will move in the direction you always dreamed it would.