Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Creating an 80/20 Lifestyle (part 3)

Over the last two posts this week, we have been looking at the Pareto Principle as researched and applied by Richard Koch in his book The 80/20 Principle, The Secret to Achieving More With Less. In the first post, I covered the background material to the 80/20 Principle. In the second post, I looked at the practical aspects of living out the 80/20 Principle in our time, relationships, work, money, and happiness. In this third and final installment, I will examine the life of the ultimate example of 80/20 Christian living - Jesus Christ.

Jesus lived an 80/20 Principled Life

Although the four gospels only give us a very small snapshot of how Jesus spent His time here on earth, I think we can deduce that He focused on what truly mattered - His own top 20% of activity that yielded Him way more than 80% of results! He lived an 80/20 life in the following ways:
  1. He focused time and energy on a strong relationship with God the Father. We often see Jesus getting away from it all to spend time alone with His Father. 
    • He spent 40 days and 40 nights in prayer and fasting (Matthew 4). 
    • He would withdraw to solitary places and mountainsides to pray (Matthew 14). 
    • Before going to the cross, He spent the night in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matthew 26).
  2. He focused time and energy on building strong relationships with those who would carry out His mission. Jesus developed leaders. He had "rings" or layers of relationships around Him. 
    • The first and closest ring was composed of His three closest disciples - Peter, James, and John. They were the leaders within the group of disciples. He spent the most time with these disciples, most likely because He knew they were the top 20%, so to speak, that would carry out the majority of the work of spreading the gospel. After His ascension, he would later spend time with Saul, better known as Paul, who would radically transform the Gentile world for Christ.
    • The second ring of relationships around Jesus was the other 9 disciples. Although He spent more time with the first three then the other nine, He still poured much of his life into them as well.
    • The third ring around Jesus numbered about 120 disciples. These people were the next layer of close followers who waited in the upper room for the arrival of the Holy Spirit after Jesus had ascended into heaven. This ring helped launch the first church in Jerusalem.
    • The final ring was the crowd. These were the ones who gathered to hear Jesus teach and experience His healing power. Obviously, He spent the least amount of time with the crowd, but He had compassion on them and wanted them to know Him. Members of the crowd would later become disciples who would help spread the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the Roman world.
  3. He focused time and energy on preaching and teaching. Jesus was a revolutionary in his teaching as compared to the religious establishment of His time. Judaism had become so twisted and out of control that He needed to reveal the true Kingdom of God. He taught that He had come to fulfill the Law.
  4. He focused time and energy performing miracles and healing. Jesus knew that He needed to demonstrate His divine nature through miracles and healing so that His disciples and the crowd would believe that He was who said He was.
  5. He prepared Himself and His followers for His ultimate mission - the cross. On a number of different occasions,  Jesus shared with His closest followers that He would suffer, die, and be resurrected the third day in order to provide forgiveness of sin and adoption into God's family.
Jesus modeled 80/20 living in His own brief time here on earth. He knew why the Father had sent Him, and He focused the majority of His time on communicating His earthly mission, building leaders who would carry out that mission, and pointing people to God's Kingdom. He calls all of us who name Him as Lord to live with the same intensity by investing our time, talents, and money into building His Kingdom.
    Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:12-13, NIV).

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    1. Thanks for covering this book so well. I think this author has made some excellent Biblical points. I will be recommending this one to my friends for sure. You might also enjoy a new one out by Rev. Dr. Sheldon E. Williams called, "Principle Centered Living." This book is similar to Richard's and addresses how doing the right thing is the best way to live and fosters a winning situation for all. It was very helpful for me highly recommended for every believer.

    2. Thanks, Audrey - I'll check out your book recommendation. Premium - glad you enjoyed the post.