In seminary I had the opportunity to take several classes on pastoral theology as part of my Masters of Divinity program. In those classes we would often talk about how to handle a variety of situations and especially about how to best handle our time. Time is a precious commodity and one the Lord wants us to steward well. In those classes we looked at a variety of models both secular and Christian to best handle our time and steward it well to the glory of God. In those class I often struggled to read the material because it seemed that they were interacting more with secular theory and trying to Christianize it than actually provide helpful training for future ministry leaders through a biblical worldview. This of course is not to suggest that the world doesn’t have something helpful to teach us under God’s common grace but rather what I hoped for was to receive was how to handle my time and be productivity through a biblical worldview while interacting with secular models on stewardship and productivity. Thankfully such a resource now exists in What’s Best Next How The Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman.
Matt’s book is broken into seven parts. In the first section Matt seeks to help his readers understand how to make God supreme in our productivity. In part two, he looks at a new way of getting things done. Part three is where Matt defines what’s most important. Part four explains how to create a flexible structure. Part five examines how to free up time to focus on what’s most important. Part six is where the author explains how to focus on how to manage your email, weekly planning, workflow, projects and daily execution. Part seven looks at the importance of productivity to all of life. The book concludes with a toolkit where the author provides a recap, recommended reading and an online toolkit.
The purpose of What’s Best Next is to help readers “use all that we have, in all areas of life, for the good of others, to the glory of God—and that this is the most exciting life. To be a gospel-driven Christian means to be on the lookout to do good for others to the glory of God, in all areas of life, and to do this with creativity and competence. Further, being gospel-driven also means knowing how to get things done so that we can serve others in a way that really helps, in all areas of life, without making ourselves miserable in the process through overload, overwhelm, and hard-to-keep-up systems” (28).
While much more could be said about this book by way of summary, I want to focus in the rest of this review on why I think this book and thus why you should pick it up. First, we live in a fast paced world where time sees to fly right on by. Knowing how to use our time and having clear cut goals for our work has never been more important. Yet, even here we could view productivity as a means and an end to itself which is how it is often viewed. Yet, Matt knows where this view leads to — workaholicism and families being abandoned which is a massive problem in our day. Instead of this, Matt wants his readers to see the glory of what Christ has done and what it means to have a new identity in Jesus. It is through this prism that the book shines brightest which will help readers to not only be truly productive but to glorify God in and through the work. Finally, this book excels at helping Christians to understand the true nature of their vocations which is to make much of Jesus, and do excellent work to the praise of His glory.
Recently, while at Together for the Gospel, I had the chance to get to know Matt a little bit. While he and I had some good conversations what impressed me about him was his obvious love for Jesus and God’s people. Matt has a keen theological mind combined with a concern for those who read his work. He wants people to not only understand what the Lord has given him to say from the Word of God but also to apply what he is teaching into their lives. Put another way, Matt knows what he believes and lives what he preaches. This is why I highly recommend What’s Best Next not only because of Matt, but also because of the content of this book. What’s Best Next is a book I wish I had read in Bible college and seminary. This is also why I highly recommend this book for Bible college and seminary students and encourage seminary professors to incorporate it into your curriculum for future pastors and ministry leaders. This is a great resource for pastors and ministry leaders to business people and stay at home mom’s. We live in a rapidly changing and fast-paced world. Books like What’s Best Next will help us to learn that the purpose of our work goes beyond just the 9-5 or even making a pay check. Our work is for God’s glory and to expand His fame to the nations. I highly recommend this book and pray it will help readers at all stages of their journey with Christ to discover the true nature and purpose of their work for His glory.
Author: Matt Perman
Publisher: Zondervan (2014)
I received this book for free from Zondervan for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”