After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...
The Bible contains truth that applies to all of life and has a tremendous amount to say about how we live our lives and work our jobs.
The Bible’s view of work and productivity is vastly different from our culture’s view:
- Our culture says work is for self-fulfillment. The Bible says that work is about glorifying God (Colossians 3:17,23).
- Our culture says we should store up as much wealth as we can. The Bible says that we are to pursue eternal treasures rather than earthly ones (Matthew 6:19-20).
- Our culture thinks that worship is what Christians do for an hour each Sunday. The Bible says that we can do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).
You have the opportunity to worship God at work through your attitude, witness, work habits, and by what you produce. We need to be people who take our work seriously and seek to be as productive as possible for the glory of God.
Your work and productivity matter to God and are profoundly important in his eyes. This goes for every job you may have. If you’re mopping floors for a living, you are mopping floors for the glory of God. Working productively allows you to honor God by maximizing the use of your time and to do more good works for his glory. This is what Christian productivity is all about.
I like how Martin Luther King Jr. put it:
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Below are several foundational truths in understanding what the Bible says about productivity. I pray that God uses it to mold your mind and heart to be more productive in whatever you do for his glory.
How to Be Productive According to the Bible
Recognize that God created you to be productive.
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:28)
Know that Jesus requires a return on your life.
The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 tells us that Jesus wants us to make the best use of our time for his sake.
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:24)
Seek after living productively because this is important to God.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Acting in God’s power, work for the peace and prosperity of all.
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Recognize that doing good works is how God describes being productive.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Work your hardest in all you do for God’s glory. You will be rewarded.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Make loving God and loving others a motivating factor in all you do, including work.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Seek to be as wise and effective you can be at what God has called you to.
“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Fight laziness. It only makes life harder for others and is inherently destructive.
“Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9)
Seek a deeper understanding of God’s grace to us in Christ, because it cultivates productivity.
“But when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things,so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” (Titus 3:4-8)
Continually renew your mind to help you follow God’s will for what you should accomplish.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)