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Our work matters to God. Work includes not only our day job but encompasses every moment of our life. Whatever we do is for him, and he is the source of our motivation: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24). We are also told that, “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12) for everything that we have done, and that our stewardship of God’s gifts will require a reckoning from us.[1]

Christians are under the joyful lordship of Christ and are called to live a life that is honouring to him. Therefore, we are stewards of his many resources and are to be faithful with all that he has given us: our thoughts, our beliefs, our practices, our finances, our family, our gifts, and our resources.

One of the resources we each have been given equally is our time—1440 minutes per day—and how we use that time is no little concern to God. He calls us to make the best use of our time: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16). How we live, and specifically how we spend our time, must be done intentionally.

We can either walk wisely, by redeeming the time or unwisely by wasting time. “Laziness is a destroyer,” one pastor has said. It consumes the nonrenewable resource that we all have—“It burn[s] a lot of daylight.”[2] Every moment of our day is an opportunity to either walk wisely or unwisely, to honour him or to not honour him. Every task, no matter how mundane, can please him and glorify him: “So, whether [we] eat or drink, or whatever [we] do, do all to the glory of God.”[3] He cares about how we get things done. To say it another way, God cares about productivity.

Whose time is it?

In our culture, we tend to fall on either side of the ditch when it comes to productivity. We are, on the one hand, tolerant of idleness which enables our laziness; while on the other hand, we can pursue productivity as a way to enable our crippling workaholism. We view our personal relationships as obstacles to overcome on the way to moving up in the world. On either side, we have failed because we have seen our time as our own and as something to be used for our own ends. If we view our time as belonging to God, then focusing on productivity in a Biblical way can also be used to love and serve our neighbour. One way we can love people is through diligence which produces excellent work that goes on to benefit others.[4]

Whether you are a doctor, teacher, store clerk, pastor, homemaker, pipelayer, or in customer service, we can all work in such a way that blesses others. When we make the best use of our time, or wherever we find ourselves, the quality of our work will increase. When we are constantly distracted, slothful, or unplanned in our work, the quality of our work decreases.

Productivity allows you “to be free when you are scheduled to be free, and to work when you are scheduled to work.”[5] If we are wasting our time when we should be working, or if our schedule is chaotic and unclear, not only do we dishonour God, but that work often carries over into our time with others. We often neglect to use our personal time wisely because we are distracted by something else.

Finally, being Biblically productive means we must not over-schedule our time so that we are frustrated or distressed if a person or situation comes our way disguised as a distraction. C.S. Lewis put it this way, “The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”[6] We must prayerfully commit our schedules to God, asking him if we are falling into a ditch of being too lazy or too over-zealous that we miss the real work that he wants us to accomplish in a day, whether it’s writing a paper, preparing a sermon, pumping gas, building cabinets, spending time with our families, or giving attention to your daughter who barged into your office like the Kool-aid man, looking for a dance with her father. We must work hard at what we do for the Lord, with all diligence and effort, remembering that it is he who ultimately schedules our days and plans our steps.

Conclusion

Productivity matters. God is not opposed to our effort: gospel-fueled, spirit-empowered, neighbour-loving, doctrinally-informed, God-glorifying effort. In fact, he is very much pleased with it.

Where has the Lord assigned you to in this present season of life? One way that you can glorify him in it is by making the best use of your time. Do not give in to needless distractions, but have self-control in managing yourself so that you can be most useful for loving God and loving people. This requires planning and a prayerful resolve to work hard. But it should all flow from a heart that seeks to glorify God with our time and love our neighbour with both our work and our attitude towards it.

We’ve all been given the same amount of time. Though we have all been given different tasks and responsibilities, we all want to use the time we have faithfully. The goal isn’t to do more for the sake of doing more, to be productive for the sake of productivity, or to become a productivity guru, but to be a faithful steward who is a blessing to the people around us and pleases our Lord through the work that we do.

May we by the mercies of God, present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. May we do so on the altar of thanksgiving to our good, sovereign, and gracious Lord—for God’s glory and the good of others.

 


[1] Matthew 25:14–30.

[2] Doug Wilson, Ploductivity: A Practical Theology of Work and Wealth (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2020), 14.

[3] 1 Corinthians 10:31.

[4] Brandon D. Crowe, Every Day Matters: A Biblical Approach to Productivity (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), 6.

[5] Crowe, Every Day Matters, 7.

[6] C.S. Lewis, They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914-1963) (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1979), 499. See also C.S. Lewis, The Quotable Lewis, eds. Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Wheaton, Il: Tyndale House Publishing, 1990), 335.

 

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