The Most Important 5% of My Time

Guest blogger and pastor’s wife Cindy Beall steps all over my toes on this post! I am challenged to really look at God’s unique leadership call on my life and make sure I am doing the best, not just the good. And it will help me avoid a total burnout in ministry as well. I know it will challenge you as it did me.

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I read this book several years ago and to say that it changed the way I live my life would be the understatement of the decade. Kind of like calling the Titanic a boat or the Grand Canyon a crevice or the Mississippi River a stream. You get my point.

I picked this book up during a severe drought in my life. There was plenty of rain happening here in Oklahoma but my spiritual, emotional and physical energy was long gone leaving me in a world of frustration. I had poured out everything in me without being filled back up. I did this pitiful practice for several months.

And you can only do it for so long before you dive headfirst into a full-fledged burnout season.

The part of the book that I found most beneficial was where Cordeiro shared about the most important 5%, which is actually a concept he first introduced in his prior book, The Divine Mentor. Here’s a brief summary of the concept:

“85% of what we do, anyone can do: checking e-mail, answering messages, attending meetings, reading the newspaper or trade journals, and making simple decisions. These tasks don’t require an elite expertise or specialized skill. 10% of what we do, someone with a modicum of training should be able to accomplish. After all, if we were trained to do what we do, someone else of like capability could learn how to run the computer program, solve the problem, lead the meeting, or do the tasks that we do. But 5% of what I do, only I can do! This the most important 5% for me. I can’t delegate these initiatives to anyone else. I can’t hire someone else to take my place in any of these activities because they require that I be there! This 5% will determine the validity of the other 95%.”

After reading this book, I sat down and listed my 5%:

  1. My relationship with Jesus
  2. My marriage to Chris
  3. Raising my sons
  4. Taking care of my body and mind
  5. Ministering to the people God places in my path (not all the ones I try to jam in there or feel guilty if I don’t – Savior Syndrome)
  6. Enjoying time with my family and inner circle of friends.

Cordeiro goes on to say,

“We often fill our days with the 85% because it requires so little of us. We then dip into the next 10%. But during this season of burnout, even that drained me completely. I had nothing left for the crucial 5%, knowing that this would require the most of me. And the crucial 5% is what God will one day hold you accountable for. It will not necessarily be the 85% that will shape your future, or the 10% that will build your legacy. It may impress the world, it may burnish your résumé, but it won’t impress God as much as that all-important 5%.”

I drew a line in the sand that day and decided that living life the way I had been… thinking I had to meet every need and minister to everyone who crossed my path and never take any time for myself… was a thing of the past. No longer would I “do ministry” because it was my role but instead, I would do the most important 5% and “minister out of the overflow” of what God was doing in me.

It changed my relationship with Christ.

It changed my marriage.

It change my role as mom, daughter, sister, friend and pastor’s wife.

And it changed my ministry.


I am sharing this with you today because I know that many of you are heading toward a burnout or are already living in that place. Not only you, but maybe also your husband. I would like to challenge you to read this book WITH YOUR HUSBAND if you are married, or with an accountability partner if not.

My assignment for you to day is this: Sit down with your husband or an accountability partner and (1)write down the most important 5% in your lives and (2) list the things that drain you and the things that recharge you.

And when you take time off from your ministry role each week, choose ONLY to do things that recharge your spirit, mind, body and soul.


Cindy Beall smallerCindy Beall is a writer, speaker and mentor to women. She and her husband, Chris, speak openly about their difficult journey through Chris’ infidelity and pornography addiction that nearly destroyed their marriage and ministry. Chris is the Oklahoma City Campus Pastor at and Cindy serves alongside him. Cindy also serves on the Leading & Loving It Equipping Marriages Team that ministers to pastor’s wives and women in ministry. Her first book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, released in 2011 with Harvest House Publishers. For more information, visit Cindy’s website:

  • sonyamacdesigns

    Thank YOU … Lifeway Women is on my list of Folks, Family & Friends we’re Thankful for this season of Thanksgiving. Which brings us to The Way of HOPE and the celebration we call Christmas.

    • Chris Adams

      And we are grateful for you and leaders like you who are leading women to HIM! Blessings.