Personal Productivity for the Glory of God
Summer is nearly over. Fall is around the corner. Children are back in school. Work is ramping up. Gathering with family and friends is normal again. Cars need maintenance. The yard begs for an end of Summer clean up. Doctor appointments need to be scheduled.
It’s easy to see how the transition between these two seasons can be overwhelming. Fall is my favorite for season, but for many it’s a time of heightened stress and feeling worn thin.
After all, we only have so many hours in the day to get a finite number of things done. Our capacity is not limitless.
Even Jesus wasn’t limitless in his ability to do things. He was fixed by both time and space that forced him to limit what he did. He couldn’t feed the 5,000 and at the same time speak privately with Nicodemus. He couldn’t rebuke the temple leaders and at the same time gently care for His disciples by the lakeside. Jesus was limited.
We can learn a lot from his model when it comes to dealing with time and personal productivity. Everyday, there are numerous tasks begging for our attention. Some of these are essential to-dos, some are important, and some have no place on our agenda, yet they find their way there anyways.
Jesus was fully human and faced the same demands on His time. Some things were important for Him and needed to be done right then (countless healings in the spur of the moment), some things were less important in the moment and were delayed (sending out apostles to teach and heal), some things were given to others to do (Peter’s leadership after Jesus’ ascension), and some things even were part of another person’s plan, but not Jesus’, so he refrained from them.
Personal productivity is a matter of our worship. What is most important? If you find yourself stressed today, ask yourself, “What is most important that would God would have for me today?”
A popular time management method that may be helpful for you dealing with stress is the “4 D’s.” Do, delay, delegate, or delete. Jesus employed these four in his own ministry (as highlighted briefly above) and they might perhaps help you today in what you are facing.
Option One: Do
Today, ask yourself what needs to be done. Then do it. Order your day around what God has called you to. What things would be disobedient perhaps or foolish to postpone, give to another, or to delete altogether? What priorities would God have you put your hand to the plow on today and do for His glory?
Ecclesiastes 9:10—“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
Option Two: Delay
Sometimes, it may not be the right time to do something. Perhaps there are things you need to do, but don’t need to do right at this moment. What tasks can you delay until you are less stressed and anxious? What items need to be done, but just not right at this moment? It’s ok to intentionally delay something, that’s different than dragging our feet in procrastination. It’s wisdom if it’s not the right time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8—“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
Option Three: Delegate
Perhaps an item on your to-do list needs to be given to another? There are gifts that God has given us for certain tasks in our lives. There are others that we are awful at and we know it. Perhaps that draining item in your life is not something that should be on your plate? Perhaps you need to talk with someone else about taking on that task. Delegating to another is wise discernment if it needs to be delegated for the glory of God.
Titus 1:5—“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.”
Note how Paul doesn’t take the task on himself, but delegates to Titus. Discernment.
Option Four: Delete
The final category is that of saying “no” to the task before you. It is so difficult for us to say “no” in this world. But perhaps the most helpful thing to your stress today and the right ordering of your life is to say “no” to certain things. I would argue this requires the utmost discernment. What is right for you to do, and what is not? You have permission to say “no” when it does not bring God glory or so eclipses your time and prevents other better things from being done.
1 Corinthians 10:31—“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do everything to the glory of GIf all our days are to be ordered for the glory of the Lord, how are we to order our time?
Let me encourage you, if you find this tool helpful, to use it. It has been a blessing to me in discerning what is right and best for me in the moment.