Senate confirmations hearings are not my typical prime time entertainment. I wasn’t really watching, but the hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch was on. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) asked a question that was potentially one of the best questions I have ever heard at such a hearing.
“When you look back on your career, how will you know if you were a good judge?”
Gorsuch said he seeks that same kind of reflection from his students when he asks them to write their own obituary. It’s not about how large your bank account is, or how many cases you win, he said. It’s about how you treat people along the way. Gorsuch said he would like to be remembered as kind and mild in private life, and dignified and firm in public life (paragraph copied from abajournal.com).
It was a politically safe answer, but I doubt that it was what he would have told his children if they asked him the same question.
What about you? How would you answer the same question? Considering your career, your calling, your family, your service to your local church – in 30 years, how will you know if you did a good job?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Who ultimately determines if you were successful or not? Is it history, co-workers, family, or your Creator?
- What is your purpose? How have you grown toward fulfilling that purpose? What is the gap between where you are and where you could be?
- To what degree should material gain factor in to your evaluation of success? To what degree should intangibles (respect, integrity, love) factor in?
This sort of question deserves more than a quick answer. Take some time, sit back, pray, dream, contemplate – but do yourself a favor and answer the question.