The Christian life is a productive life
Our life is rooted in the redemptive work of the hands of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
The Lord then expects fruits from our lives. He wants our life to be productive due to the indwelling presence of His Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22-23) and because of our pledge to serve Him as our God. Yet, because of our lack of discipline and focus, we become barren and stagnant bystanders not only in our relationship and service to God but to others and to our community as well. It is important then to be reminded that as Christians, the Lord called us to be “lights” and “salts” of the earth. In other words, He wants our life to be beneficial; that just as He offered His life for our salvation and blessing we would also dedicate our lives to productive purposes that will glorify Him, bless others, and benefit our society.
Once again to find an example and principles to learn regarding this subject, let’s once again look at the life of Moses. In Exodus chapter 18, you’ll see Moses so overloaded with lots of responsibilities beyond his energy, control, and time. Let’s read verses 13-14 to see why.
The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?”
The first principle that we can learn is this: Not because you’re full of projects, assignments, and activities you are in effect productive. No, my friend. Busyness doesn’t basically make you productive. Take note, Moses here was so busy, tired, yet still willing to serve, but practically speaking we can say that he was not productive because his “quality” service was hindered and nullified by the “quantity” of his consumers. His concentration was cut to pieces and diverted by many cases of task. Well, we can applaud him for his “good intention” to care and to serve, but his “approach” and “means” to bring about the desired quality service were not right; it just made him burned out and stressed. And of course, if a person is stressed, however good or noble his work is, I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before bad attitudes will erupt.
So what I am trying to say here is this: A productive life or true productivity comes from a discipline to manage your work or purpose so proportioned to your time and energy. My friend, don’t do it all! Know your priorities, your strengths, and weaknesses; you can’t master it all. Learn to accept that there are things that you cannot do, not usually because you can’t do them or you don’t like them, but because they are not your priority or life’s purpose. Thus, instead of focusing on yourself, you need to start looking outside – you need to “delegate,” or share the vision and passion with others. This is the second principle that we can learn from verse 21. It says,
Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of the fifties, and of tens.
In other words, what Moses needs to do here is to find people, with skills and godly characters to become his support group in the work. Take note, “skills” and “character” they can’t be separated. A person may be skillful in his work, but if he doesn’t have godly character, he will become a burden and a rotten tomato in your life. Likewise, a person may possess fine character, but if he is not skilled, he’s also become a problem. Therefore, the productivity of one’s project, work, and mission is based on skills and godly characters. This is the kind of people whom you need to find out or befriend with if you want to be productive in your life’s work. You can’t do it all. Success loves supporters. Most importantly, don’t miss the obvious principle that the story is showing us here, which is actually the reason why Moses discovered the key to proper and productive management; that is, you need to have advisers or mentors clothed with life’s experience suited to their expertise. This is the third principle.
In the early period of Moses’ leadership, the Lord gave him a wise adviser in the person of his father-in-law, Jethro (v. 17). He is a kind of an adviser who has both the guts to tell you to face to face your wrongs and the heart to care for you and encourage you. You see, being productive is not only attaining the desired projects through wise means, but it’s also about the life-growth of the heart. I’m aware that in the secular world, what matters is to achieve the project even by hook or by crook. But in Christian leadership, management, and productivity, our priority is the heart first, and then from that follows the work or purpose. That’s because if the heart is right, the skills to execute the project will become pleasing to God, making it productively beneficial to people and society.