Friday, December 16, 2016

What's your mission statement?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Romans 1:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God...To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." Romans 1:1, 7a

Paul sure knew how to economize with words. Here using just a few, he spells out what his whole life is about. It's a lot like a modern mission statement.

Mission statements—formal short written statements of purpose—are normally connected to companies or organizations. According to Wikipedia, they often include:
1. The purpose and aim of the organization.
2. The organization's primary stakeholders.
3. Responsibility of the organization to those stakeholders.
4. Products and services offered.

If we substitute the word "person" for "organization" we have the framework for a personal mission statement. Paul's declaration about himself plugs in comfortably. We can learn a lot about determining our own priorities by studying his.

1. The purpose and aim of the person: "Paul a bondservant of Jesus Christ..."

My Bible's study notes explain:
"Bondservant — also translated 'servant' or 'slave' refers to an employee who was paid wages, often had considerable skills and responsibilities...But a bondservant could not resign and work for another employer. Highly educated and skilled people, as well as ordinary labourers were bondservants" Wayne Grudem, footnotes on Romans, New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1548.
Paul's purpose was to serve Jesus in this lifelong bondservant way.

2. The person's primary stakeholders: "To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints..."

In his letters to the Romans Paul is addressing Roman Christians. Of course we know his "stakeholders" were far more numerous than that; his mission field included much of the then-known world. But I'm sure he never imagined that his words would reverberate through centuries, crossing continents and oceans, reaching us here in 2016!

3. Responsibility of the person to those stakeholders: "...called to be an apostle."
"Apostle here refers to the unique officers in the early church who had the power to govern the churches with absolute authority and to speak and write the very words of God without error..." Ibid).
Paul was clear about his job title and what responsibilities his position gave him toward the Christians who were his contemporaries.

4. Products and services offered: "...separated to the gospel of God."

Paul elaborates on the magnificence of his product of "good news" often through his writings, several times even within Romans 1:1-17. He reminds the Roman Christians that this gospel:
  • was promised by the Old Testament prophets (Romans 1:2).
  • is about Jesus—who was born physically as a son of David (Romans 1:3).
  • and who was shown to be the son of God because He rose from the dead (Romans 1:4).
  • is part and parcel of his (Paul's) service to God (Romans 1:9).
  • is news he is proud, not ashamed of (Romans 1:16).
  • is powerful to the extent of providing salvation to everyone who believes, both Jew and Gentile (Romans 1:16).

Paul's impact was no doubt due, somewhat at least, to his focus. He knew who he was, whom he served, the role he was to play in their lives, and the supernatural "product" he offered. I ask myself, would my life benefit from some of Paul's focus? Would yours?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Paul's purposeful, passionate life. Help me to sharpen my own life by studying his example. Amen.

MORE: Your mission statement
Have you ever written a statement of mission for your life? Try writing one. If you like, use the sentences below as a guide.

1. The purpose or aim of my life is to _____ .
2. My "stakeholders" are ______ .
3. I will fulfill my purpose to my stakeholders by _____ .
4. The product I offer is _____ .

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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