We all know that feeling, you wake up in the morning and all you see is a massive to-do list. You sit in a staff meeting and you talk about the week ahead and with every task your anxiety rises. You wake up to little faces staring at you and you’re thinking of entertaining them whilst also sorting a million other things. Let’s be honest, productivity is tiring!
Take it a step further too and, if we’re really being honest, we can sometimes see our Christian Life as a to-do list. We think that we need to attend church, that we must attend small group, that we need to go to the prayer meeting and everything else that’s going on during the week. The Christian faith becomes transactional, we do things in order to be right with God and because we feel that we have to. But instead we should be living for Christ because of what He has done for us. There is a big difference between doing stuff fr the sake of it and doing stuff because of what Jesus has already done.
In Titus 3:14 Paul is urging not to lead ‘unproductive lives’ (NIV). When we read that with out 21st Century minds we immediately jump to a to-do list. We think “In order for me to be productive I must read x amounts of chapters of the Bible a day, meet x amount of people a week, pray for 30 minutes a day” and so on. Our lives, including our spiritual lives are caught up in the modern mindset of productivity, which is goals based. It’s a system that is more interested in results rather than impact. It’s a system that cares more about numbers than it does people. It’s a system that cares more about ticking off a to-do list than it does about the actually wellbeing of a person. It’s a flawed system that does not work.
Sure, there is a requirement for some productivity, contractual hours need to be completed. Jobs must be done. Things do need to happen. This is not an excuse for laziness, actually is a call to change your mind and rethink what productivity actually means.
The focus in Titus 3:14 is for Christians not to lead a life that is fruitless but instead to live a life that is full of Christian growth, good works for the Kingdom and a life full of Christ. In our world that is wrapped up in using every last second of every day to ‘do the next best thing’ to ‘be the best version of you’ Jesus says “Don’t be like them, be like me”. Live a life that is invested in the Kingdom of God.
This fruit will look different for every Christian depending on their circumstances, but at the very least it means;
- Living for Christ’s interests instead of the world’s
- Investing in eternal things, not the visible things of this world
- Submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life who will produce that fruit in you (Galatians 5:22-26)
Being a fruitful Christian doesn’t mean being a slave to the to-do list, but it means being a person who is transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18), whose mind is being renewed (Romans 12:2). Being fruitful means being a person who abides in Jesus (John 15:4-5) and the promises that He will abide in you.
In a world that focuses on completed a to-do list that glorifies self and creates a whip to work under, Jesus bids you to come to Him, to be rid of the whip and instead to live, by His Spirit, a fruitful life that glorifies Him and has eternal significance.
Modern productivity says “do more better” Jesus says “invest in me and see the world change”. Personally, I know which is more freeing. I know the freedom of the call to be fruitful for the Kingdom. Everything that we see in this life is temporary and transient, as Christians we are called to invest in the Kingdom, that which is unseen and eternal. It is far better to work for a Good King than to be a slave under a harsh slave master. Our view of productivity needs to be shaped by the Bible, that means that we should not strive for perfect productivity but instead invest in the lasting fruit of the harvest in our own lives and the lives of those around us.