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Thursday thoughts

I haven’t put together a coherent blog post for today. Instead, I’ve been doing what I do: try to help people walk better with Jesus. I do it by answering questions and listening. A lot of listening.

I have been reading—one of the books I’m working on is Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next. It is, essentially, a productivity book that deals into why a Christian should be productive and what should motivate you in the process. Perman also works into the “how”s of productivity. I’m not there yet.

I have been wrestling with the “Why?” questions of productivity. I’m hesitant about things like mission statements or “grand visions” for my life. I also know that the great philosopher Yogi Berra allegedly said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.”

(Yogi also allegedly said that he “didn’t say half the things I’ve said.” For whatever that’s worth.)

Perman points people’s perspective toward having a mission statement that everything else filters through. If an item aligns with your mission, then you do it. If it doesn’t, you don’t. Sounds simple.

Except that I haven’t figured out how to draft a mission statement that covers eating green vegetables. I know I need to, but I can’t bring myself to adjust the Westminster Catechism to have question 1 read: What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to fear God and glorify Him forever, and to eat broccoli.

It just doesn’t work.

Admitting that there are things that have to be done, mission or not, is an important reality. Somebody has to take out the trash. Right now, there’s a crew of minions to do it. At times, it’s me. So, how do I draft a mission statement?

One approach is to make such a broad mission statement that it covers everything in the world. That’s the way many organizations, especially churches, do it. Everything fits into the mission because the mission covers all possibilities.

Except, whether in a group of people or alone, that provides no help for filtering your planning. That’s why, for example, at East End Baptist Church we have a simple mission statement: As East End Baptist Church, we are going to walk with Jesus and take as many people with us as we can. Anything that fits with that is worth considering, anything else goes to the wayside—even good things. (For example, I hate heart disease. I’ve seen too many family members and friends die of heart issues. We as a church don’t fight heart disease, but we also encourage church members who want to do things like heart walks, “go red,” etc… We recognize that there are good things that aren’t church that people need to do.)

So, how does that work into a personal mission statement? Does mine simply echo the church’s? Does it need to be more in-depth?

That’s what I’m wrestling with. I’m for the simple approach, but the church’s doesn’t translate. The general idea there tracks with a community approach of serving Christ, which I think is Biblical. We…with us… works better than I…with me… does. I know, there’s still “though none go with me, still I will follow.”

Right now, my general inclination goes in this direction, borrowed heavily from D. Elton Trueblood: “I will endeavor, with all that I am and all that I have, to live and teach the way of Jesus.”

I think that’s about as good of a start as I’ll get.

What about you? What would you take as your personal mission in life?

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