With chapter eleven of What’s Best Next, Matt Perman begins the third section of his book on “gospel-driven productivity.” This section is the “define” part, where Perman says that if being productive is knowing what’s important and doing it next, we have to define what is most important in life.
And that’s where having a personal mission statement is vital, he says. In the eleventh chapter, “What’s Your Mission? How Not to Waste Your Life”, Perman lays out the details of this concept. At the beginning he sets forth “four principles for creating mission statements that work” (p.153).
I appreciated what he had to say under the second principle, “base your mission on the actual purpose of life.” Here is part of it:
God has stated the purpose of life throughout the Bible in dozens of different ways. The words God uses (and that you can use) to describe it can differ, but the essence is always the same. The purpose of life is to know God, enjoy God, reflect his glory back to him, and do this in community with others through Jesus Christ.
That’s the ultimate purpose of life, both now and forever.
…One of the greatest statements of our mission in the Bible is when Paul says that his aim is always that ‘Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil.1:20-21). When Paul says ‘to me to live is Christ,’ he means, ‘Christ is my main end in life. I belong to him, and everything I do is for him. Nothing else matters without him (cf. Phil.3:8-14)….
Echoing this again in Romans 14:7-8, Paul states his and our purpose this way: ‘For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.’
Outside the Bible, perhaps Jonathan Edwards has captured this best: “Christianity requires that we should make God and Christ our main end; and all Christians, so far as they live like Christians, live so that ‘for them to live is Christ.’
Note that your mission is personal, not impersonal. It is not just principle-centered; it is God-centered. God – Jesus- is a person. Your mission is to live unto him – and die unto him. To serve him, love him, know him, reflect him – and do this in community with his people, with an outward focus that seeks to serve the world for its good (pp154-55).