I recently completed a wonderful study of Matt Perman’s excellent book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done, with some friends in a faith and work book club at work. It was the second time I had read the book since its release in 2014.
There is so much of value in the book that it is extremely difficult to pick out just a few favorite quotes, but here are 25 that I found particularly helpful. I would highly recommend that you read this book on “Gospel-Driven Productivity”.
- True productivity is not first about efficiency — doing things right and doing them quickly — but effectiveness — doing the right things.
- Productivity is about making a contribution and giving more than we get so that God gets the glory (not us).
- A radical concern for others is to be at the heart of our productivity and at the heart of everything we do every day.
- Being productive is not just about getting things done. It’s about being a useful person, making a contribution, and leaving things better than you found them.
- Generosity is to be the guiding principle for our lives. This is both the right thing to do and the way to be most productive. It is the surprising, counterintuitive key to productivity.
- The overarching principle of the Christian life is that we are here to serve, to the glory of God. According to the Bible, a truly productive life is lived in service to others.
- If our works are to be truly productive — that is, affirmed by God at the final judgment and last forever — they need to be done with a love for God at the center. Anything else is ultimately idolatry
- One of the best forms of generosity in our work is excellence. Excellence matters not only because it is right and exciting in itself, but even more significantly because it is a way of serving people.
- The fundamental way to know what’s best next — to make good decisions in an age of unlimited options — is to be a person of character
- Discernment based on love is the way to know what’s best.
- The core principle of effectiveness is to know what’s most important and put it first.
- The ultimate foundation of your mission is not your character or even correct principles. It’s what God has done for you in Christ and the fact that, if you believe in Christ, God is now your Father.
- The purpose of life is to know God, enjoy God, reflect his glory back to him in the pursuit of justice and mercy in all things, and do this in community with others through Jesus Christ.
- Your mission is the ultimate reason for your existence — forever. It is your chief why. Your life goal is the concrete what. It is the chief way that you seek to fulfill your mission.
- You need to have an overarching, passionate, God-centered aim to your life — an overarching goal and message that flows from your mission and directs the priorities of your life.
- Your roles are all callings from God and thus avenues of worship. You can serve him just as fully in the “secular” areas of your life as you can in the spiritual areas.
- God designed the world so that there will always be more things for us to do than we are able to do. This isn’t just so we learn to prioritize; it’s so that we learn to depend on one another. And that’s what delegation enables us to do.
- Put first things first, and stop doing second things. The fundamental ways to reduce are through delegating, eliminating, automating, and deferring (DEAD).
- Multitasking seems like a way to save time but actually costs more time and is, in fact, impossible. It is inefficient because it makes both tasks take longer. But it is also impossible because you cannot literally multitask. The human brain simply cannot focus on two things at once. God is the only multitasker.
- Ask in everything: How can I build others up? This brings us back to the fundamental principle behind everything: You are here to do good for others, to the glory of God. All productivity practices, all of our work, everything is given to us by God for the purpose of serving others.
- Since Gospel-Driven Productivity is about putting our productivity practices — and all that we have — in the service of God’s purposes, that means we will put our productivity practices in the service of fighting large global problems and bringing the gospel to all nations.
- See everything you do, in all areas of your life, as means of serving God and others.
- It is in our vocations that we take our faith into the world and the gospel spreads most fully. Whatever your job is, wherever you are, it is both meaningful in itself and a means of advancing the gospel. It is through your work that God changes the world.
- We can go even farther and say that non-ministry vocations are the key to the spread of the gospel globally, because our vocations are the chief way we bring our faith into the world. The gospel spreads through our vocations.
- We must have a robust doctrine of work if we are going to reach the nations with the gospel.
To find out more about Matt’s ministry and check out some helpful resources, go to his website.