Life Lessons from Chuck Swindoll

In early March 2011 I sat in a roomful of men and women who have dedicated their lives to various forms of broadcast ministry. We were all about to hear Dr. Chuck Swindoll deliver a message that he told us he had been “writing for over 50 years.” In a moment you’ll understand what he meant by that.

This was the first time I had ever heard him speak live. And to be honest, I’ve not spent much time listening to his sermons or radio addresses, or reading his books. But if there was one time I could have heard him speak, this was the one to be at.

Dr. Swindoll took the stage graciously, despite the inconvenience of going on 30 minutes late. Over the next hour or so he shared these 15 thoughts which he had carefully collected over the course of his life, marriage, and his years of service in ministry.

  • Tell people how you feel about them now. Not later… Later may never come.
  • Things that I’m not even aware of are being noticed and remembered. Little things mean so much to people.
  • Authenticity will keep you from a lot of trouble.
  • When things fit they flow. When they don’t fit, they have to be forced.
  • It doesn’t pay to talk anyone into, or out of, a big decision.
  • Days of maintenance are a lot more in number than days if magnitude.
  • Half of ministry is just showing up. Most of it is just plain hard work. It’s not “fantastic.”
  • Some people aren’t going to change, no matter what. Ruth Graham says of her husband, Billy Graham “It’s my job to love Billy, it’s God’s job to make him good.”
  • I seldom feel sorry for things I did not say.
  • Perception overshadows reality.
  • Time spent with my family is always worth it.
  • Grace is worth the risk.
  • Learn to stop saying “never” and “always.”
  • Thinking theologically pays off… Big time.
  • Some things are worth the sweat: Truth, admitting inadequacies, expressing gratitude, apologizing, and being generous.
  • You can’t beat having fun.

What a great list! When hearing Chuck Swindoll deliver them you could just tell they were intensely personal lessons he had learned through many trials and even more errors.

None of us are perfect, not even great men like Chuck Swindoll, but we can always strive to be better than we are. Don’t get caught up in yourself. Do better, be better, and choose better.