Christian Productivity—Your Motivations Matter

"I want to be more productive."

How many of you have said that to yourself recently? Did you realize how much time you wasted over Christmas break? Or did you make a New Year's resolution to work harder and stop wasting time?

I'm sure that for at least some of you, the answer is "yes." Productivity is something that many of us struggle with, especially as we grow and take on more responsibilities. Schoolwork, extracurriculars, a job... all these things take work, and it's important that we learn how to deal with them. 

 

I'm partnering with several other bloggers to discuss productivity—the dos and don'ts, setting goals, staying organized, and many other things we've learned. 

Links to the other articles will be at the bottom of this post, so stay tuned for that!

 

For the past year, I've struggled to find a workflow that helps me get things done while still avoiding burnout. And I've learned a lot—mostly from my failures. 

I wanted to get things done, so I pushed myself. I set goals for myself, and then I increased those goals. I was doing a dozen things at once, and I didn't see a problem—this was what I was supposed to do, right?

And then I burned out. And then I started having health issues from typing too much. And then I realized I was far too weak to deal with the pressure.

It's important to think Biblically about every area of our lives, and that includes our work. How should we think about productivity? How should we—Biblically—work? 

The Bible does have answers, and they provided the missing piece to the puzzle that had bothered me for months.

 

Do not let productivity become your idol.

Productivity is not the point. 

Let me repeat that: productivity is not the point. 

Now, before you roll your eyes and close the tab—I'm not saying productivity is evil! In fact, the Bible talks a lot about how Christians absolutely need to work hard. 

But it's very easy to let productivity be far more important in your life than it should be. That's what I'm warning you against, and it's something that took a long time for me to realize. 

Your worth isn't based in your accomplishments. "Getting things done" is not the point of life. 

The point of life is to obey and glorify God (Ecclesiastes 12:13), and it's also to rest in him and enjoy him forever (Psalm 23). And sometimes, a relentless search for productivity can actually prevent that. 

Many times, I've been distracted from prayer—prayer!—because I can't stop thinking about how much I have to do that day. That's a problem.

Your worth doesn't come from your work—it comes from Christ's work. Don't forget that.

 

Productivity is good... but your motivations matter.

We're commanded multiple times in the Bible to work hard and to be productive—to "work heartily as for the Lord" (Colossians 3:23), and to "make the best use of the time" (Ephesians 5:16). 

Those are just a few examples. There's also the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the example of Jesus's life (and the lives of the apostles, to a lesser extent), and dozens of verses in the Proverbs. 

And we're also warned against laziness—2 Thessalonians 3:10b says, "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." (And, again, dozens of verses in the Proverbs.) 

For the Christian, productivity is more than a New Years resolution to be followed—it's a command from God. Shouldn't our work ethic reflect that? 

But when you do your work, your motivations matter. 

A lot. 

Why are you doing the things you're doing? Are you working because you know that your salvation is secure in Christ, and you have a desire to glorify God with the opportunities you've been given? Are you truly working from love and gratitude? 

Or are you trying to prove yourself before God and the world, thinking that the more things you do, the better of a Christian you'll be? 

I've done the second one, and it led to a whole lot of problems—stress, pride, exhaustion, and the constant feeling that I wasn't doing "enough." 

Because I wasn't. You can't earn your salvation!

It was only when I took a step back and saw that my standing with God wasn't based on the great things I accomplished that I was finally able to be at peace. 

If you want to be more productive, that's awesome! But please, please do it because you have a genuine desire to glorify God. If you don't, then you're setting yourself up for a truckload of insecurity, anxiety, and stress. 

And if you've experienced what I'm talking about—if you've tried working to prove that you're "good enough" and felt the anxiety of failure—then don't worry. This is a process of learning and growth, and it'll take time to gain the proper mindset. 

God's grace is sufficient for you. And his power is made perfect in weakness. 

 

To recap: Productivity is good, and Christians are called to work hard and make the best use of the time we've been given. But we need to examine our motivations and realize why we're working the way we are. 

Our work should be done out of a desire to serve the Lord, not a desire to prove ourselves before God and man. 

It's a process. I've had to learn a lot about what grace means for my work, and I'm sure I'm still missing a few pieces. 

But I'll keep learning. And we'll never get anywhere if we don't start!

God's work will be accomplished on Earth. And it's already been accomplished in your heart. 

 

Blog tour schedule:

  • January 1 - Autumn Rebecca of Sunshine in the Haze discussing completing goals and setting new ones.
  • January 3 - Isabella Daou of The Public-Schooled Christian discussing goals for the school year.
  • January 10 - Desirée Flaming of Flight Patterns discussing ways to organize and keep track of your goals. 
  • January 13 - Ava Coulter discussing productivity and consistency in writing. 
  • January 16 - Emma Thrasher of Roses of Grace discussing how we can think Biblically about productivity and not go insane in the process. (Hey, that's right here!)

Make sure to check out the other articles from the tour! I really enjoyed them, and it was a lot of fun working with the other bloggers.

Comments

  1. This article is really relatable. I feel like it’s so common to push ourselves to be more productive and then burn out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, so true. It's common but so important to avoid.

      Delete

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