What to do and what not?

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I’ve long valued a list of tests by the late Professor Hedley Beare, published in the Melbourne Anglican years ago, that helps one assess what to take up that’s new, and what to stop doing—tasks to get rid of, to resign from, to give up or just quit. Each Advent I look at it again. This is a summary; a copy of the full article is here. Beare writes of the tests of:

  • Bliss: Is this activity something I really like doing, deep down? Is it something I really want to do?
  • Vocation: Is this something I am suited to doing, which appropriately makes use of my talents, and which is in keeping with my Christian and professional calling?
  • Uniquenes: Why me? Why have I been asked or approached? Is this something only I can do, for which I have unique competence?
  • Coherence: Does this activity harmonize with my current priorities and centres of interest?
  • Networking: Does (or will) this activity keep me in touch with significant people or activities, and will it do the same for my spouse or partner?
  • The Strategic: Is the audience or the target group for this exercise important enough to warrant the investment of my time and energy?
  • The Prophetic: Does this activity or assignment give me the opportunity to be prophetic (in the biblical sense)? Does the undertaking make me bold?
  • Remuneration: Who is meeting the costs of this assignment, literally?
  • Opportunities Foregone: Will this assignment prevent me from doing something else more important, or something which I must do, which I am already committed to do, or which I really want to do?
  • Peace: At the primal level, does this assignment leave me feeling easy in my mind?

Beare wrote: “One need hardly add that this review takes time; if I am not accorded that time, the answer is always ‘no’. Because such a review combines inner work and prayer, you don’t have to justify your decision or make excuses. ‘Simply let your Yes be Yes and your No, No’, Jesus advised (Matt 5:37).”