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How To Get Things Done

They are questions I receive often: “Do you ever sleep? Do you work all the time? Do you ever stop?” There seems to be this impression among certain people that either I am an unrepentant workaholic or that I am remorselessly neglectful toward life’s other responsibilities. The truth is far less sordid: I have invested a lot of effort over many years in learning how to simplify life and how to maximize productivity. I love to make the best use of my time and energy, and I am constantly fine-tuning the systems that allow me to remain that way.

Today I am beginning a series of articles that will share some of what I have learned along the way. I do not really know how to teach how to get things done except by allowing you into my life and into my systems. I intend to give examples from my own life, not because they are necessarily the best or only way of doing things, but because they work for me and may give you something to build from. You can take those examples as far as you want, and adapt them so they work for you. If all goes well, we will look at systems and tools and organization and planning, and all kinds of exciting things. But first we have a little groundwork to do.

It all begins with an understanding of our purpose in the world. What follows is a brief “Productivity Catechism” that provides a foundation for everything else I will say. It is only when we properly understand our purpose and mission that we can excel at systems and tools and all the rest.

Q. Ultimately, why did God create us?

A. God created us to bring glory to Him.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

“…[I]n order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

Q. How can we glorify God in our day-to-day lives?

A. We can glorify God in our day-to-day lives by doing good works.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

Q. What are good works?

A. Good works are works done for the glory of God and the good of other people.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

Q. As sinful people, can we actually do good works?

A. Christians are able to do good works because of the finished work of Christ.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

“[Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).

Q. In what areas of life should we do good works?

A. We ought to do good works at all times and in all areas of life.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works” (Titus 2:7)…

“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people” (Titus 3:8).

“Women should adorn themselves … with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity” (Acts 9:36).

Q. What is productivity?

Productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Through this brief series of questions and answers we have established that we have been given life and salvation in order to bring glory to God by doing good to others. As this series continues we will look at ways we can organize and structure life to do these very things. Check in again tomorrow and we will continue this series by looking at the various areas of responsibility in our lives.

[Parenthetically, my son really encouraged me yesterday when, out of the blue, he said, “Dad, you always have lots to do, but you’ve always got time for us.” He’s a sweet kid.]


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