Posted in reflections, The Wesleys and Wesleyan theology

Work with the end in mind

Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Steven Covey penned one of the most influential leadership books of the late 20th century, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey passed away in 2012, but his principles live on. Here is one of them:

Work with the end in mind.

Those words would have resonated well with 18th century Methodists in England. One of their characteristics that commended Methodism to the people of their day was the peaceful, even heroic way that Methodists faced their own end. Long before the time of drugging people in their final hours, those who approached death were often quite lucid. The 88 year old Rev John Wesley, laying on his death bed in 1791, murmured to those gathered around him: “And best of all, God is with us.”

Here are last words from some others:

“See in what peace a Christian can die.” – Joseph Addison, English politician and writer

“Am I dying, or is this my birthday?” – Lady Astor

“Now comes the mystery.” – Rev Henry Ward  Beecher, 19th century American abolitonist

“I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” – Nathan Hale

“I’m going over the valley.” – Babe Ruth, 20th century American baseball player

“Bring down the curtain, the farce is played out.” – Rabelais

“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist-” – John Sedgwick, Union General, to his men when they advised him to take cover

“Let us cross over the river and sit under the shade of the trees.” – Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

“Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub.” – Conrad Hilton, hotel magnate

“So little done, so much to do.” – Cecil John Rhodes, South African gold and diamond miner

“Strike the tent.” – Confederate General Robert E. Lee

“Hold the cross high, so I may see it through the flames.” – Joan of Arc

“I have seen heaven open, and Jesus on the right hand of God.” – Rev Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

Samuel Clemens, better known under his pen name, “Mark Twain,” had some “work with the end in mind” words of his own. I chose them for the “senior quotes” section of the 1985 Nautilus, the yearbook of Eastern Nazarene College:

Let us so live that – when we come to die – even the undertaker will be sorry.

Have a God-blessed and pivotal year in 2014.


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Greg is interested in many topics, including theology, philosophy, and science.

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