This is the fortieth and final chapter of The Purpose Driven Life. As I expected, it wraps up with a review of the five sections and encouragement to develop a personal purpose statement. Rick Warren begins the chapter with a discussion about the importance of a personal “Life Purpose Statement.” Such a statement will keep me focused on achieving all of my purposes and help me remember what is most important in my life. He provides five questions that I should consider as I prepare this statement.
- What will be the center of my life? This is the question of worship. Who am I going to live for and what am I going to build my life around?
- What will be the character of my life? This is the question of discipleship. What kind of person will I be? God is more interested in what I am than what I do, so I need to concentrate on improving my character.
- What will be the contribution of my life? This is a question of service. I need to decide what my ministry will be and how I will use my SHAPE to serve the body of Christ.
- What will be the communication of my life? This is the question of my mission to unbelievers. It will include my commitment to share my testimony and to share the gospel.
- What will be the community of my life? This is a question of fellowship. How am I going to demonstrate my commitment to other believers and my connection to the family of God?
Warren suggests that I spend weeks or even months thinking and praying about my mission statement and fine-tuning it to be just the way I want it. I should then form a smaller version of it that summarizes the main points.
The book closes with a short section encouraging me to believe and accept that God truly wants to use me. By living a life of purpose I can serve God to the best of my ability and look forward to an eternity of continuing to live for His purposes.
Warren quotes the Bible twenty nine times using eight translations and paraphrases. I found that he used The Message far too much in this chapter, often taking wonderful passages of Scripture and assigning them a whole new meaning. Phillipians 4:7 reads, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The Message paraphrases it “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” I don’t see what is wrong with the more accurate translation that made Warren think The Message could improve it. Another case in point is Revelation 4:11 which Warren uses to close the book. The NASB translates it “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” That is one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring passages in the entire Bible. The Message reads “Worthy, O Master! Yes, our God! Take the glory! the honor! the power! You created it all; It was created because you wanted it.” The Message paraphrase sounds ridiculous and loses the grandeur and power of the original. Again, I fail to see why he thought this paraphrase was better than a more accurate one.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “living with purpose is the only way to really live.” At this point I am not ready to agree or disagree with that statement. I am going to take a few days to let what I have learned settle and to think about what this book has taught. At that point I am going to write a final article in this series which will summarize what I have learned and what I believe about the Purpose Driven approach. So stay tuned!