Recently, I met with a small group of local writers and was introduced to a phrase that seems worthy of using in many settings. Imagine carrying on a conversation with someone who has just expressed their mission statement and you simply respond with, “so that…?” Then, patiently wait for them to give a much deeper explanation of the motives behind their stated mission and purpose.
Writer Russell Bishop has used this technique for the past 40 years. He has mentored and coached countless people with this salient question to challenge them to consider how they can better run their business enterprises. Bishop is known internationally for his work with corporate and group clients, and I regard him one of the wisest and kindest individuals I have met.
I would like to challenge you to consider this phrase, “so that,” for your own personal growth, as well as your interactions with others.
Whether you are a businessowner or just want to improve your awareness of how you can help in making this world a better place, I believe this short phrase can be pivotal for your life. I am amazed at how often the phrase “so that” has conveniently come to my mind since being introduced to this concept. Here are some examples:
Playing golf ‘so that….’ Golf has been one of my favorite pastimes for nearly 60 years. There was a time when I was pretty good at the game, but these days I can easily become disappointed with my overall game. Now I am planning to increase my workouts and occasionally even practice – “so that” I can enjoy the game even more. Also, I plan to lower my expectations – “so that” I can be more relaxed and at ease on the golf course. These days I intend for my golf outings to be a nice walk in the park.
Going to work ‘so that….’ For the past 39 years I have diligently worked in the financial services industry with the same major company. There have been many challenging times, yet I remain committed to my clients. Why? “So that” they will be served in a proper way to protect them and their loved ones in the future. I have known this for years, but it is good to verbalize why we do what we do, to better understand our underlying motives in our work. For me, a specific Bible verse relates to this directly. In Colossians 3:17, the apostle Paul exhorted his readers, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Serving others ‘so that….’I have concluded the best way to demonstrate my love for the Lord is through my relationship with others. In other words, I need to serve the needs of my clients so that my Heavenly Father will be pleased as I place others before my own needs and desires. Pleasing God is now the most important goal in my life. Consider these words Paul declares in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” He was sold out to Jesus Christ – he focused everything he did “so that” he would honor the Lord.
Let me close with this thought: Two thousand years ago, God sent His only Son to earth. Jesus Christ, the God Man, spent approximately 33 years on this earth for the singular purpose of dying on a cross for our sins, then to be buried and resurrected so that we might be able to be brought into fellowship with God and experience eternal life! Receiving Christ into our lives, as John 1:12 describes it, amounts to a simple transaction of faith. But once we have done this, it can revolutionize every time we think about whatever we are doing and then consider why – “so that…?”
© 2022, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.
1. Have you ever considered stating exactly what you believe is your personal or vocational mission statement (or purpose statement)? If not, this would be a very beneficial exercise. Why do you do what you do?
2. Once you have articulated a mission statement, how would you expand upon it by responding to the phrase, “so that…”?
3. Consider your favorite pastime, a hobby or activity you enjoy. Other than consuming some of your free time, you do it “so that” what?
4. Do you think applying the phrase, “so that,” to plans, goals and aspirations is excessive? Should we be able to express why we determine to do things, the motives behind what we are doing? Why or why not?
NOTE: For more about what the Bible says about this topic, consider the following passages: Job 42:1-5; Isaiah 55:10-11; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7-10; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 3:23-25