Saying No to Good Things (And Why We’re Closing Down the Blog)

While at Apple, Steve Jobs annually collected his best thinkers into one room and asked them what Apple should focus on for the next year. Everyone threw out ideas, argued and vied to get their idea on Job’s top ten list.  Once they had the right list – ten good things for apple to focus on, in order – Jobs would take an eraser and wipe off the bottom seven. Jobs knew that Apple couldn’t possible do ten things well, but that they could do three things excellently. That meant saying no to seven good things, in favor of doing the three most important things excellently. Most of us (myself include) find it incredibly hard to say no to good things, but oftentimes saying no to something good, means saying yes to something better.

Veritas is a relatively young ministry, and as a result we’ve changed enormous amounts in the last six years. We’ve had to say no to a lot of good things, to do the most important things more excellently. Early on we said no to large group worhsip meetings, then we said no to table discussion groups. We had to say no to weekly worship… and then we had to say no to bi-weekly worship. I could keep going, but one thing I love about this ministry is that we’re not afraid to try new things, or say no to great things, so long as all of our decisions are driven by our mission: to help as many students as possible progress as far as possible in their knowledge and understanding of Christ. In the same way, we need to say no to blogging. For a long time, the blog was an integral part of that mission. However, as we reflect on the amount of time blogging took from counseling, training, socials, and teaching, we realized that blogging was a top ten goal, but not a top three goal.

Saying yes to greater investment in students lives, in sharing the gospel with more people, in teaching with greater excellence, means saying no to the blog.

For me personally, it’s been a great lesson and reminder. First, that the internet is a great tool for the gospel, but never greater than coffee with a friend. We can certainly teach about a lot of interesting things on a blog, but lives are transformed mostly through long term relationships with other people. That requires real life interaction with real life, individual problems. Saying yes to face-to-face interaction, means saying no to blogging (for now at least).

Second, that saying no to good things stings, but in the end it’s always worth it.  I like to read as much as I can and reading is a great thing. Nonetheless I have to say no to reading so that I can say yes to spending time with my wife and friends. My personality (or maybe just my human nature) makes it difficult for me to change plans and priorities. I like setting a goal out and finishing it without interruption. So, if I want to read 3 chapters of a book by the end of the day, it’s easy for me to ignore people to do so. The reality, however, is that I need to say no to good things to say yes to better things, like asking my wife how her day’s been.

So, if you’ve been a faithful reader of the blog, thank you for reading. Who knows, maybe some day we’ll say yes to blogging again. Until then, thanks for reading, and who knows, maybe it’s time to say no to something good, so you can say yes to something better – and do it more excellently!

About Patrick K. Miller

Currently I am living in Columbia serving at the University of Missouri with Veritas, The Crossing's campus ministry. In December 2010 I graduated from Mizzou with a degree in English Literature. My beautiful wife, Emily, works is an Interior Designer with a local firm. I like espresso, 30 Rock, and books. My favorite old dead guys are John Owen, Augustine and Francis Schaeffer. You should read something by them.
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2 Responses to Saying No to Good Things (And Why We’re Closing Down the Blog)

  1. kebedefaith says:

    Thank you for being faithful to what God has called you to do. Ill miss reading these posts, but I know you and your ministry will be blessed for being willing to follow where the Holy Spirit leads.

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