“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”

Attributed to Mary Kay Ash

Ouch! I can relate to both halves of that quotation. 

There are (far too) many days when I begin without a clearly defined agenda. Consequently, I resort to a series of familiar, but not always productive activities. 

Realistically, all of us have a certain amount of trivial, repetitive, more-or-less mindless activity in our schedules. Most of us don’t have grandiose thoughts as we empty the trash, put on our socks, brush our teeth, or check the status of our Amazon purchases. 

But that’s OK. The challenge is refusing to allow the trivial to define us and dictate our activities. Mrs. Ash was correct that we need clearly defined goals to prevent slouching our way toward the trivial. 

From a biblical perspective, I’d add one more step to the process. More correctly, I’d back up one step. We not only need clearly defined goals, but we also need an overarching purpose that drives everything we do, including our goals and activities. 

The Bible has numerous statements of purpose. Each of us would do well to adopt one of them as our own. 

  • Ecclesiastes 12.13 – “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”
  • Matthew 6.33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
  • Philippians 1.21 – “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Some biblical statements of purpose encourage us to look at our life’s purpose with respect to how we use our time.

  • Psalm 39.4 – “LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am.”
  • Psalm 90.12 – “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

Before we grade our daily to-do list, we should examine our goals. But before we set our goals, we should consider our purpose. Only then can we set goals and pursue activities that are consistent with our ultimate purpose in mind.

So instead of trivial pursuits, may God help us with purposeful pursuits.