I, for many years, found talks about productivity extremely boring.
Whenever someone would start mentioning how to lay out your calendar or organize your desk or plan out your next few months, my mind would begin to drift and I would miss most of what they were saying.
I had a number of reasons I would give myself.
“I am not that administrative.”
(Really, I think this is more, I am a bit lazy. I have no doubt that some people think more in details than others, and some are better at the bigger picture, but please, I don’t think anyone is born organizing their pencils. This is a skill and it is one that can be learned, if you are willing)
“I am going to die anyway.”
(It sometimes seems hard to think about the color of the carpet when you know in forty years the color of the carpet isn’t going to matter at all to you. But I am not sure this is how an eternal perspective is really supposed to impact me. I don’t think that it is supposed to be an excuse for not doing my best right now.)
“I just want to love people.”
Now here it is. I have noticed that some in their drive to be organized become so focused on being organized and productive that they actually lose sight of people. What I have come to understand in recent days however, is that shouldn’t necessarily be the case.
In fact, my attitude towards careful planning and concern for details and learning how to get things done is changing, and it is changing primarily because of this, it is changing because I am realizing that careful planning, concern for details and learning how to better get things done is ABOUT LOVING GOD AND LOVING PEOPLE.
In his book, What’s Best Next, Matt Perman writes,
“The essence of Gospel Driven Productivity is this: We are to use all that we have, in all areas of life, for the good of others, to the glory of God, and 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 ares of life, without making ourselves miserable in the process through overload, overwhelm, and hard to keep up systems.”
I can’t tell you how paradigm shifting this is for me.
Thinking about next actions and my calendar and details is becoming more and more exciting to me, because it is about LOVING MY NEIGHBOR BETTER! And this shouldn’t just be exciting to me, it should get all of us excited as Christians.
Because as Jonathan Edwards has written, “As a principle of love is the main principle in the heart of a real Christian, so the labour of love is the main business in the Christian life.”
Why are we concerned about productivity? Because we are concerned about the main business of our lives as Christians. It’s that simple, really.
I am concerned about productivity because I want to become better and better at the main business of my life basically, which is working at loving God and loving others better.
It’s not so much about having our calendar just so or having things in order the way we like, but instead its about the glory of God and the good of people, and working on becoming excellent in the ordinary, basic matters of getting things done will help us to become better and better at loving them and glorifying God as well.
(Please, if you get the chance, purchase Matt Perman’s book, What’s Best Next! It is so incredibly helpful, practical and potentially life-changing!)