Does God Care About Our Productivity? – M.Perman

Whats Best Next -PermanIn this early part of our new work-week, it is good to reflect on how we do our work and why it matters. We have been examining this of late as I work my way through Matt Perman’s recent book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan, 2014).

In his fourth chapter Perman seeks to answer this question: Does God care about getting things done? Unsurprisingly, he answers with a resounding, Yes! The quote from John Piper under the title of this chapters gives that answer away too: “Aimless, unproductive Christians contradict the creative, purposeful, powerful, merciful God we love” (Don’t Waste Your Life).

Perman shows from Scripture (and thus, the gospel) that God does care about how we get things done. In fact, He commands us to be productive and to be productive in the right way. Perman points us, for example, to the original creation mandate in Gen.1:28 and to the work that the Creator called and equipped Adam and Eve to do in the garden. He then takes us to the parable of the talents recorded in Matt.25:14-30, where the faithful stewards of God’s gifts were rewarded with high commendation (“Well done, good and faithful servant.”) and with an everlasting reward (“Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”).

Finally, Perman directs us to Eph.5:15-17 to show us that God cares about how we get things done because He calls us to make wise use of our time and to know and do His will, also in our daily work. It is from this section that I quote today:

We are not to breeze through life, taking whatever comes. we are to ‘look carefully” [‘See then’ in the KJV] how we walk. You don’t just walk through a store with your eyes closed, buying whatever you touch, and expect it to turn into a wardrobe. And neither should you do that with your life. Likewise, we are to ‘make the most’ of the time [‘Redeeming the time, KJV]. The time doesn’t make the most of itself; we are to take back the time from poor uses and turn it to good uses.

Further, a concern for good use of our time is a characteristic that the Bible expects us to have. Consider Psalm 90:12: ‘Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.’ I like how the New American Standard Bible puts this: ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.’ Even our growth in wisdom and our ability to manage ourselves is something we do for God and present to him.

…Knowing how to get the right things done – how to be personally effective, leading and managing ourselves well – is indeed biblical, spiritual, and honoring to the Lord. It is not unspiritual to think about the concrete details of how to get things done; rather, this is a significant component of Christian wisdom (65-66).

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