Matt Perman, author of What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done and a contributor to IFWE’s blog, recently spoke with The Resurgence about gospel-driven productivity.
The interview covers a range of topics related to how Christians can apply the gospel to their approach to productivity, but three points stand out in particular. They’re all related to how the gospel motivates people to get things done.
It’s not always easy to see directly how the gospel impacts our productivity, but Perman makes three concrete points about how this happens.
The Gospel Changes Our Motive in Getting Things Done
Perman points out that all Christian behavior is rooted in the example Jesus set for his followers, an illustration of “putting us before his own interests, even to the point of death on a cross…”.
What does this mean for productivity? Perman explains how this changes our motivation to be productive:
This means that, first of all, the gospel changes our motive in getting things done. The goal of our productivity should not be first of all our own personal peace and affluence…Instead, the goal of our productivity should be to bring benefit to others—to make a contribution and make life better for people, even to the point of sacrificing ourselves and own interests if necessary, to the glory of God.
But the gospel doesn’t just change our motivation, it changes our means for being productive, too.
The Gospel Changes the Means through Which We Become Productive
The key to productivity, Perman asserts, is to make it “other-centered.” He dives into this further, saying,
The key to being productive is not to put yourself first, but rather, like Jesus, to be generous and put the other person first. Look at things from the other person’s point of view, and do the things that meet their needs. That’s what it really means to be productive. The cross means that we need to have a radically other-centered view of our productivity.
After the gospel alters our motivation and means for being productive, how do we actually become productive? The gospel has an answer for that, too.
The Gospel Is the Power Source of Our Productivity
The grace presented so beautifully in the gospel powers our ability to be productive. How does this work? Perman responds,
…the gospel is the power source of our productivity. By realizing that we are accepted by God apart from our good works (that is, apart from our productivity), the pressure is off. We are free to be productive for the good of others because we want to, not because we are compelled, constrained, or forced to. This unlocks the true power source of maximum productivity: love.
How do you think the gospel impacts your productivity?