Seven is the number associated with fullness and completeness, beginning with the seven days of creation. Not surprisingly, it is a useful number by which many have grouped ideas into clusters. I don't know about you, but I find it stimulating (without always agreeing) to see how a big subject may be summarized in just seven statements.
One of the most famous is Steven Covey's 7 habits of highly effective people, which has sold in millions of copies. Well-written and persuasive, he lists seven key principles:
1) Be proactive - the unique human capacity to makes things happen.
2) Begin with the end in mnd.
3) Put first things first.
4) Think win/win.
5) Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
6) Synergize - create with others.
7) Sharpen the saw - the principle of self-renewal.
Recently I came across the 7 criteria for emotional maturity, compiled by Dr. William Menninger of the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas.
1) The ability to deal constructively with reality.
2) The capacity to adapt to change.
3) A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties.
4) The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving.
5) The capacity to relate to other people in a consisten manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness.
6) The capacity to sublimate and direct one's instinctively hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets.
7). The capacity to love.
Have you any creative lists of sevens? And this has set me thinking about what could be the seven marks of the effective pastor! If you have any ideas about what you would include on that list, please let me know. I'll work on it and post something in the future.