A Key to Productivity

Sometimes the Bible intersects two issues which at first glance have nothing to do with each other. But as we continue to contemplate the Word, we find the reason why we are surprised at the intersection has more to do with us than the Word – God is wiser than us.

One such intersection occurs in Matthew 24. The chapter contains Jesus’ most extensive teaching about what we call “eschatology” – the study of the “last things”, the “end times”. Therefore it’s easy to get hung up on our questions about the details. But there are a few “tent pole” verses that are easy enough to see.

One is verse 35: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” The humble, attentive reader hitches their ears at this, and listens.

Jesus goes on to describe the end: it will be like the days of Noah. I remember, on my 40thbirthday, watching the horrifying videos of the flood waters engulf the Fukushima area of Japan. As with Noah, as with Fukushima, so it will be then: a total surprise, and people will be caught, with no time to escape.

We can’t just stay awake every hour, watching the skies – that’s impossible. We can’t know the exact time Jesus will return (v. 43-44). So then, the wise and faithful servant prepares for it, and lives ever-ready for it. This is the only path to satisfying blessing (v. 46).

Which leads us to productivity. Most books on getting things done have one fatal flaw: they can’t tell you whether the things you are productive in are worth doing. They can only tell you how to get more stuff done, but they can’t tell you whether those things will lead to true blessing. But Jesus cuts through all the self-help voices to a very simple, clarifying question. D.A. Carson puts it this way: “What would you like to be doing, saying, thinking or planning when Jesus comes again? What would you not like to be doing, saying, thinking, or planning when Jesus comes again?”

Answer those questions, and you are well are your way to a truly productive life. Answer those questions, and many of the “how” questions will answer themselves. We usually have little trouble figuring out how to do things we want to do. The key is faith – faith in the generous, providing love of this God – that He knows we seek and need blessing. And faith that He will bring us this satisfying blessing – in His good time.