Brent Niedergall

A FEATHER IN YOUR THEOLOGICAL CAP

Did you get everything accomplished this past week that you wanted to accomplish? Do you have deadlines and projects looming over you for the week ahead? We all want more time. We all want to be as productive as possible. And each of us probably approaches the challenge of getting things done differently. 

Carson Tate, in her book Work Simply, talks about four different styles of productivity. Which one of these would you say best fits your style of getting things done? Maybe you’re a Prioritizer—someone who’s all about goals. Or maybe you’re more of a super-organized Planner. Others are Arrangers. The kind of people who can facilitate and communicate well with others to accomplish tasks. Or you could be a Visualizer, who can see the big picture. We all have our strategies. We need these strategies. Because getting everything done in the amount of time we have is such a challenge!

In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar—we talked about him last week. King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. He has this dream, and he wants his magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers—he wants them to tell him what his dream means. But he’s not going to tell these magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers what he’s dreamed. No. He wants them to tell him. He wants them to tell him his dream so he’ll know they aren’t just making up a bunch of baloney. And if they don’t tell him, he’s going to tear them limb from limb and destroy their homes.

This is a tall order. A seemingly impossible order. So they’re like, “Come on. Tell us the dream, and then we can tell you what it means.” And Nebuchadnezzar says, “No way. You guys are just trying to buy time. You’re trying to stall.” And maybe they were. They didn’t want to be put to death over this crazy demand. I’d try to buy time, too, if I were in their sandals. It’s that ever-present need for time. Don’t you want more of it? But, as my sons would be able to remind me, “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

So let me ask you this. Out of all the reasons you would want more time, how many of those reasons involve God? How much of your desire for more time for more productivity involves doing the work of the Lord? You probably know the verse in Ephesians 5 that talks about “redeeming the time.” Making the best use of time. Buying time. They’re the same words the Septuagint translators used in Daniel 2:5 about the magicians, enchanters, and sorcerers “buying time” when Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to tell him about his dream. Nebuchadnezzar accused them of trying to take advantage of all the time they could get. 

And Eph. 5:16 is telling us to take advantage of all the time we can get. To buy time. Snap up every opportunity. Not to prolong our lives or serve an ancient king. But to serve our God. The King of glory.

How does your quest for productivity at work compare to productively seeking the kingdom of God? Spreading the Good News. Storing up treasure in heaven. Whatever your style of getting things done might be, does that kind of work figure into your quest for productivity? It should. Buying up time to serve God should be our highest priority. 

And it’s not some crazy demand the Lord is asking of us. He tells us why. According to Eph. 5:16, the days are evil. See, there’s another way we can use our time. Our time can be used for good or evil. We can be productive to serve the Lord, to be productive for His purposes, or we can be productive in our efforts to sin. Which isn’t really productive at all. That’s being foolish and disregarding the will of God (see Eph. 5:17). 

So when you’re considering how you can be more productive to get things done, consider what you’re doing for the Lord. How can you be more productive in your service for Him? 

Image Credit: Morgan Housel, Unsplash.com

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