Last April, I wrote about the importance of adopting a life “purpose statement”; a succinct phrase that defines the focus of everything I do. It is an attempt to answer the philosophical question, “Why am I here?” To be honest, I did not write my purpose statement – God gave it to me. And, ever since that morning, I ask God daily to help me live this out in every facet of my life, whether at home, at work, on the road… No matter where I am or what I am doing, this is the man I seek to be:
I often say that I am a work in progress. Yes, even at my age, I am growing and maturing in my faith. I have come to understand that everything I do, everything I say, points to something. My sincere desire is that my something is Jesus Christ. Thankfully, as I look back over the years of my life, I see progress. Sanctification, the process of making or declaring something or someone holy, is a process and I am thankful that God is working that process in me. Am I perfect? Heck, no. Am I holy? Working on that.
I started this blog several years ago with the mission of (hopefully) being a source of inspiration and motivation to Christians working in the secular world. What I have found is that the process of writing these posts blesses me. In 2022, I seek to be more diligent here. This is part of my Bible study. It is part of my maturation process. Even as I type this, I smile at the notion that God is teaching me. Right now.
How about you? Do you have a Purpose Statement? If so, how are you nurturing it? What is God doing in your life? I pray that all who read this will be drawn closer to the Lord, day by day, and that each of us who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will let our lights shine so that we are a blessing to all whom God brings into our lives.
“Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than leaving the office each day feeling like God is pleased with my efforts.”
What is your Purpose Statement? In a business context, one’s Purpose Statement succinctly defines a person’s life focus, typically addressing career, charity, and sphere of influence. I’ve heard dozens of keynote addresses that encourage us to define our life’s purpose in some fashion:
Develop your personal brand.
You are your CEO.
Write your purpose statement.
Set your goals.
These are all worthy and admirable. As a Christian in business, my Purpose Statement is simple. Its focus is not on me, my career, or my sphere of influence. No. My Purpose Statement comes straight from Scripture in the words of the Lord Jesus. And its focus is on Him.
What does this look like at work? For starters, let’s consider the Scripture on my home page:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…
I work with some very good and smart people. Their approach to running our business is truly impressive, and working alongside them naturally ups my game. But – when I consider my work as being God’s work, my purpose at work is repositioned. Yes, I serve my leaders. But nothing gives me greater satisfaction than leaving the office for the day feeling like God is pleased with my efforts.
God plants His children in places at which we can minister by our attitude, conduct and work ethic as we interact with coworkers and business leaders in the routine course of the work day. This is not about walking around the office, hands in the air, singing “Amazing Grace” for all to hear. This is about seeking a Godly focus in all that we do, even in completing the most ordinary or mundane tasks. It’s about seeking excellence in quality of work. It’s about being available to coworkers and helping solve problems or address challenges. It’s about honesty and integrity. It’s about seeking to honor Jesus’ command to let our lights shine – not to gain glory for ourselves, but to let others see Him through me. It’s about Him.
How do we position ourselves for His service? Here are a few things I do to help stay focused on Him:
My Church – Regular participation in worship and engaging with my church family helps shore up my foundation. I miss church when I miss church. It is my weekly booster shot, if you will. At church, I worship, serve and learn alongside many others in the same position as me – a Christian earning his living in the secular world. If you haven’t been to church in a while, I encourage you to reengage. And, if you have no church home, ask God to help you seek one out. I believe this to be incredibly important.
My Morning – I am an early riser. My favorite time of day is the predawn, when the house is quiet and I can focus. After that first cup of coffee helps me wake up, I go into God’s Word and ask Him for wisdom to take me through my day. This is an important time for me; I notice that my day is different when I miss this morning time with God.
My Journal – There are many planners and journals on the market these days. I use a planner called “Faith & Focus” published by Christian Planner. In this book, I plan my day each morning and log notes and future follow-ups through the course of the day. This helps me keep my focus while also helping me stay organized.
My Pause – I schedule a 15-minute pause each morning and afternoon. This is time set aside to clear my mind, offer prayer, and reenergize. Sometimes I take a walk. Sometimes I find an empty conference room. I sometimes give it up on particularly busy days. That’s fine. The purpose of the pause is to invite God into my day and remind myself Whom it is that I ultimately serve.
A few years ago, God planted the seed for me to start workisministry.com. My ministry is to encourage and inspire Christians working in the secular world to view and execute their work, first and foremost, to the glory of God. If we seek this objective as our primary purpose, we will very effectively serve our employers, coworkers, and shareholders. We will be a valued asset to the company. We will have personal satisfaction in our chosen vocation. And we will honor Jesus’ commandment to let our lights shine, that others would see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. That, my friend, is my Purpose Statement.
Have you ever seen a person headed down the wrong path, making decisions in a vacuum, and knowing that this will lead nowhere good? I have, and it can be painful to watch.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”
Merriam-Webster offers this definition of a fool: “A person lacking in judgment or prudence.” I call it, “flying blind.”
I have learned over the years, sometimes the hard way, that my idea of how to solve a problem or approach a difficult situation is not necessarily the best idea. I used to be somewhat bull-headed, not always the best listener, and at some point down the course I charted for myself found that I was not where I had intended to be. It is sometimes the School of Hard Knocks at which we learn some of our most valuable life lessons.
Strong leaders are not bull-headed. They do not “fly blind.” They do not chart a course without first gathering all the facts and examining possible options. Strong leaders do not abuse their titles. Do you know people who do this? Have you ever been in a meeting at which the most senior person in the room belligerently states his unfounded opinion as the subject matter experts try to help him see the light? But, through self-importance, pride, or something else, he just will not listen? I have, and sometimes it can almost be comical watching a person make a fool of himself even when I have been the target of another’s belligerence. “Big title, small mind,” I’m tempted to think.
That is exactly the behavior addressed in this Proverb. I am blessed to work with an incredible team of very smart people. Sometimes, difficult situations arise. I am a fool if I address those situations on my own without seeking their counsel and advice. I have experienced countless situations in which the brightest and best idea comes from a surprising source. Strong leaders tap into the talent that surrounds him or her. Setting pride aside, the leader listens to subject matter experts, weights the options, and reaches an informed decision on how to proceed. The strong leader then gives credit where credit is due.
For me, this is a constant life lesson. I am thankful for this reminder from God’s Word on this Monday morning. Now it’s time to take on the week!
“Jesus’ mission was to achieve the greatest and most important victory of all time: the victory over sin and death.”
My allergies have been relentless over the past few weeks! How frustrating it was for me to be in worship on one of my favorite Sundays of the year with no voice, unable to join in hymn and worship. But then I remember, this is not about me. My vocal limitations did not reduce the significance of this day.
The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”
For as long as I can remember, Palm Sunday has been one of my favorite worship days of the year. Reading about all that Jesus said and did in the three years prior to His fateful entry into Jerusalem, it’s no wonder the people were celebrating. The people believed that Jesus had come as a conquering king; the one who would seal their protection from Rome and from their enemies. Indeed, Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, but He is not the sort of king the people expected. And, in just a few short days, as this reality hit home, their shouts of “Hosanna in the highest” would become shouts of “crucify Him”!
Today, as we ponder Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we have the lens of Scripture through which to view these events. Through Scripture, we know that Jesus knew exactly what was to happen. You see, Jesus knew his mission. It was not to conquer Rome. It was not to amass an army to take on the world. No. Jesus’ mission was to achieve the greatest and most important victory of all time: the victory over sin and death. He knew that His mission would be achieved that very week through pain and agony – indeed through death. He went willingly, out of love for those He came to save, including me and including you.
On the church calendar, this is Holy Week. I am using this week to prepare my heart, my mind, and my soul to confess that my sins hung Him on that cross, to remember that He went willingly out of love for me, and to be assured once again that I am saved by His grace through faith. I’m also using it to reflect on my mission in life. I know God has me here for a purpose, as He does each of us. Let us each pause in the busy-ness of life to prepare our hearts to celebrate His victory over sin and death in our behalf and to ponder anew what God would have us do to serve, honor and glorify Him.