Is Christian productivity just a collection of practical tips & tricks we’ve commandeered from the business world?
There are so many excellent and helpful secular books on time management and productivity. And so much of the advice contained in them is applicable to the Christian, especially the pastor. After all, we, like the entrepreneur or CEO down the street, need help in how we organize our schedules. But we are not entrepreneurs or CEOs. And while much of the guidance gleaned from Seven Habits, Get Things Done, or The Power of Habit works equally well in Silicon Valley as it does at Silver Valley Community Church, there are foundational aspects of the Christian’s understanding of productivity which are not shared by the world.
There are distinctly Christian approaches to productivity.
Retrofitting Worldly Productivity Philosophies
If you take the time to read any of those books I just mentioned, it’s not long before you come up against some downright religious notions. Some of them may be shared by the Bible (e.g. moral qualities like diligence or integrity), but many are opposed to the Word of God (e.g. the so-called “Law of Attraction” or the vain ambition promoted in these epistles to businessmen).
As a Christian reader, you end up having to disentangle the method from the motivation in order to apply it to yourself. And while we may dismiss that as simply the task of discernment and being a good Berean, that untangling can get hairy fast. But why is this the case? Why do productivity books and lectures gotta get all religious on us?
It’s simple: You cannot deal with topics so basic to the human soul such as motivation or ultimate goals without touching upon religion. All productivity books have a theology. This is by necessity. Thus, we must approach worldly productivity methods with an ample helping of discernment and caution, because we do not share the same religion or worldview as most of the authors of these books.
Christianity Offers a Distinct Productivity Philosophy
So, if we are going to employ these methods to get things done, the reasons behind how and why Christians implement productivity techniques ought to be starkly different than those of a secular businessman.
The businessman wants to utilize time-blocking so he can increase his company’s profits and earn a promotion for himself. But the Christian blocks out his time because he knows the hours belong to his Lord and he needs to make profitable use of time for God’s glory. So, we need to be ever vigilant in our perusal and implementation of any productivity tip that we do not accidentally imbibe an errant philosophy which stands behind the technique.
Christianity Offers Unique Productivity Practices
But is that where it ends? Are we Christians only pragmatically rejiggering worldly systems to fit Christian aims? No. I think the Scriptures have more to offer us than that. As ministers of God’s Word, we must not be content to simply lay productivity techniques on top of our faith like a blanket. If we would glorify God, we must have a view of time, efficiency, motives, and stewardship that is organically integrated with a thoroughgoing Christian worldview.
The very reason I started this blog was to more fully explore that relationship. And one way in which I hope to begin that work is by surveying some of Christianity’s distinctive productivity techniques.
Over the next several weeks I want to explore some practices, methods, and considerations having to do with productivity which are unique to Christians. We are going to look at distinctly Christian productivity.