As we continue to make our way through Matt Perman’s book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan, 2014), let’s remember that we are in the third main section of the book, where the author is helping us define what is most important to do, since productivity is knowing what’s most important to do and then doing it with all our might to the best of our ability.
Chapter thirteen – “Clarifying Your Roles” – is another step in this process of defining what’s important, and at the beginning, Perman reminds us of an important truth that also came out of the Reformation of the 16th century – that all lawful work is a vocation, that is, a calling from God. It is worth hearing what he has to say about this vital point:
Talking about roles puts us right at the heart of the Christian doctrine of vocation. The Bible teaches that our roles are not just areas of responsibility, but callings. Our roles are each callings given to us by God and through which we serve God and others.
This applies to all of us, and to every area of our lives, which means four things [I abbreviate for sake of space.].
First, all Christians have a calling – not just pastors and missionaries. Whatever you are doing in life, you are not there by accident. Jesus has placed you there (1 Cor.7:17-24), and you are able to carry out your role unto him and for his glory (Eph.6:6-8). Here’s how Luther puts it:
A cobbler, a smith, a farmer, each has his work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops, and every one by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other, that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, even as all members of the body serve one another.
Second, it means not only that all Christians have a calling but also that every area of our lives is a calling. Our callings are not just limited to what we do as a job. All areas of our lives are a calling – husband, wife, child, friend, community member, parent, and so forth – and thus are to be lived before God and unto God.
Third, it means that all of our jobs and every area of our life has a dignity and meaning that gives great significance to it. Because of the priesthood of all believers, we can do all things unto the glory of God….
Fourth, it means that each role is a stewardship for whcih we are ultimately responsible not to other people, but to God himself. …This gives not only significance to what we do, but great weight to what we are doing (p.180).
Now you can see again why Perman refers to knowing and doing our best as “gospel-driven productivity.”