Character and Productivity – Matt Perman

Whats Best Next -PermanA while back now, I read chapter 9 of What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan, 2014), where author Matt Perman writes about the importance of character (“character ethic”) for productivity in our lives as Christian laborers.

The chapter is titled “The Role of Prayer and Scripture in Our Productivity”, and here are a few quotes:

How does character lead to productivity? First, as we’ve seen, character is itself at the heart of what God requires and is the essence of the productive life. The greatest success is to be a person of character – someone who walks with God, in Christ, and seeks to live this out every day by doing justice and loving mercy (Mic.6:8). Second, character leads to making the most off our time in the decisions of everyday life because character is usually the source of our ability to determine what’s best next (p.125).

…This means that the Scriptures are at the foundation of our productivity because the Scriptures are one of the chief means God brings about this transformation and builds our character. in Psalm 1, for example, the reason this person flourishes in his character and prospers in all he does (v.3) is because ‘his delight is in the law of the Lord,  and on his law he meditates day and night’ (v.2). Related to this, prayer is also foundational to our productivity because in prayer we call on God for help and strength (notice how Jesus connects prayer, the Scriptures, and productivity in John 14:7-8).

This is not moralism. The essence of character is walking with God. The essence, the heart, and the basic dimension of the Christian life is living in fellowship with God, and central to that is prayer and the Scriptures (p.127).

…The other component of character , which flows from love of God, is love of others. This manifests itself in a tendency to think of others, seek their welfare, and put them first. …That’s why character issues in productivity: it is of the essence of Christlike character to always be thinking of others – which, as we have seen, is the guiding principle of our productivity (p.128).

Applying these things to ourselves, may we practice true productivity our work this week, rooted in a Christlike character, using the means God has given us to grow that character – His Word and prayer.

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