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The Rev. Dr. Jim Somerville The Rev. Dr. James Somerville

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Dr. Jim Somerville: How to Get Over a Midlife Crisis

October 19, 2010

At 51, I'm way past midlife (I doubt that I'm going to make it to 102), but I found some good advice from Peter Drucker that I'd like to pass along.

Drucker was "the creator and inventor of modern management," according to business guru Tom Peters. Writer John Byrne adds, "The story of Peter Drucker is the story of management itself. It's the story of the rise of the modern corporation and the managers who organize work. Without his analysis it's almost impossible to imagine the rise of dispersed, globe-spanning corporations."

So, when Peter Drucker talks, it pays to listen.

Shortly before his death in 2005 (at the age of 95), Drucker talked about how to reinvigorate people. "Within organizations there are people who, typically in their 40s, hit a midlife crisis when they realize that they won't make it to the top or discover that they are not yet first-rate... How do you save these people? Give them a parallel challenge. Encourage people facing a midlife crisis to apply their skills in the non-profit sector."

So, here's an encouraging word for all you men and women out there who are beginning to wonder if you'll ever "make it to the top"-Volunteer! Get involved in church! At my church we're trying to bring the Kingdom of heaven to Richmond, Virginia. We're doing it by helping refugees from Bhutan get resettled in this city, by teaching children in Sunday school, by offering hot showers to our homeless neighbors, by creating a loving, caring community for senior adults, by hosting a divorce recovery workshop, by starting a weekly farmer's market, and by "singing heaven down" every week through our music ministry.

Those are just a few examples. Bringing heaven to earth is a big job. We're going to need all the help we can get. And if you are willing and able to help us we would be grateful. Not only that, but along the way you might discover that this kind of work-Kingdom work-is even more important than the work you do in your day job. Jesus once said, "The one who would be great among you must be least of all and servant of all" (Mk. 10:42-44). In other words, the way to make it to the top is not necessarily by climbing the corporate ladder, but by rolling up your sleeves and helping "the least of these, his brothers and sisters" (Mt. 25:40).

And when Jesus talks, it pays to listen.

[Taken with permission from the blog of the Rev. Dr. Jim Somerville, Richmond First Baptist Church. Originally posted 10/19/2010]

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