One of the greatest blessings of the Christian life is the gift of grace. Thank goodness we don’t rely on enough good deeds to earn salvation. But that doesn’t mean that God is opposed to good work and being productive.
So what does the Bible say about productivity – and how is it different than the latest bestseller from the self-help industry?
Here are five Bible verses that show us God’s view of productivity.
1. Work with Christ-like character.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17, CSB)
Yes, we are called to work hard. But in context, this is talking about a larger picture of living the Christian life. It isn’t so much how hard we work, but the way we work that Paul is concerned with here. This is a call to submit to and honor Christ as we serve others around us. Just a few verses earlier, Paul reminds us to stop chasing after the things of this world. Lust. Revenge. Greed. (See Colossians 3:5)
We are called to work hard at forgiveness, to worship with abandon, and to be filled with gratitude. The truly abundant life differs from our “inalienable right of the pursuit of happiness” in that we are called to sacrificially love those around us just as we have been loved. Pursue Jesus and work on cultivating character that reflects His example.
2. Work hard for what really matters.
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:8, CSB)
We are commissioned for work in God’s Kingdom. No matter what your daily grind includes, you can be devoted to doing what is good. Instead of climbing the corporate ladder, you can bring integrity to difficult business decisions. Instead of an Instagram-worthy birthday party, you can be a peacemaker in your home.
Paul’s letter to Titus reminds us that our work has deep meaning when we keep our priorities in the correct order. Biblical productivity—from dishwashing to strategic meetings—requires a heart service towards our families, co-workers, and companies for God’s glory and honor.
3. Let your actions speak for themselves.
There is profit in all hard work, but endless talk leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23, CSB)
One of the best ways to get more done is simply to get to work. Instead of talking about your stress, start by checking one item off your to-do list. Instead of complaining about a difficult task, spend your energy solving the problem or inviting others to come alongside you.
The author of Proverbs didn’t have the distractions that impede us today. But he knew that we benefit more from consistent hard work than from giving in to our distractions or complaining about our busy schedules. Work on letting your actions speak for themselves.
4. Bring order to your days.
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16, CSB)
It can feel easy to get to the end of the day and wonder what you accomplished. Bring order to your days by focusing your energy first on prayer and praise and then on your biggest priorities.
Order likely looks different for each of us, but when we approach our days with intentional planning, we can make the most of each moment and focus on the things that truly matter.
5. Keep your focus on Jesus.
Let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2a, CSB)
We can run with endurance whatever race is before us if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. What an encouragement that we can draw on God’s strength no matter how overwhelming the tasks of life become.
Keeping your focus on Jesus will give you fortitude as you live in difficult circumstances and the wisdom to encourage those around you. Your focus will probably shift towards building deeper relationships, growing in wisdom, and finding spiritual health.
How do you measure productivity, and how might you shift your thinking toward God’s perspective on meaningful work today?
For more ways to live a productive, meaningful, and joy-filled life, check out Uncharted: Navigating Your Unique Journey of Faith by Inés Franklin.