I was recently praying quite earnestly that God not “waste” any part of my life. Words like this tumbled out: It’s been too hard and quite frankly, I have worked too hard to live well for You to see any of it wasted. You need to get the glory for all you have done in my life! The seeds you have planted in me need to stay behind….every single one…so that You get the glory for all you have done in my life!
Then I continued.
God, that was such an American prayer. Our culture loves efficiency! I just expressed that I desire nothing except that my life produces results that “count.”
Then God and I shared a chuckle.
God knows me very well. I have absorbed some of the world around me and it leaks out. While truly laughing with Him, I delighted in the fact that He hears each of us with perfect ears — capturing our prayers with complete understanding of the culture from which they stem, and knowing exactly where we are in our spiritual maturity. We are safe to be our authentic selves with God.
But I saw it.
I saw the American culture influence of a love for productivity that I bring into my relationship with God. I certainly value getting things done, feeling like I am making a difference, and seeing results.
Does productivity matter to God?
As John concludes the gospel of John, he writes: This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who has written them down. And we know that his testimony is true. There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written. (John 21:25)
We don’t know all Jesus accomplished.
Jesus died having done many things that are not recorded and will therefore never be known. Those instances died with Jesus and the people that witnessed them. I forget that sometimes, and then I have to stare the culture in which I was raised straight in the face. If Jesus died without everyone knowing every amazing thing He did, then so will I. That flies in the face of the social media mentality of, “If I don’t take a picture, it didn’t happen.”
But the truth is, your life really happened without a photo.
But not everything we do will be remembered. That truth makes this American-cultured girl sad, but there is another delightful side to this coin.
Everything we do by faith will matter and live eternally.
Take a look at Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Read Matthew 17:20: Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Since everything Jesus did was by faith in God the Father, everything He did pleased God and produced eternal reward, but not every seed produced results on earth. Even some seeds sowed by our Savior landed on hard hearts, weed-covered hearts, and shallow hearts. (Matthew 13, Parable of the Sower). But every seed that landed in fertile soil produced results that have continued since His death on the cross and are still growing today. The global church that is still growing in size and beauty today, grew from the Spirit-filled fertile hearts of a limited number of lives Jesus was able to influence in the brief 33 years He lived in human flesh.
Everything He did is still producing results — even the unseen, unknown, and unrecorded.
In the Kingdom of God, it’s never been about how much we get done and being remembered by the world because God remembers. “Productivity” has always been connected to faith. And I can tell you the author of this post has offered prayers of faith that all He has done in me stays behind, planted in someone else or somewhere else, and that every single seed continues to grow in a way that contributes to the size and beauty of His Kingdom on the earth. Why? So He gets the glory for my life because the results far exceed what I could have ever done in human strength.
God has heard every word spoken by faith.
And He hears your prayers of faith too. And He sees every action you do in faith. Like me, you too will die without people knowing all you have done, but the mountain-sized prayers we offer in faith and the smallest of deeds we do by faith will remain behind and keep growing.
Someday in eternity God will turn us around and show us.
I hope to be standing beside you when it happens so I can share in the joy with you.
Does productivity matter to God?
Yes, but not in the world’s way, in His.
Picture Explanation: I love all trees, particularly oak trees. Who doesn’t think acorns are cute? Oaks represent how I want to grow in my faith– slow and strong. They also represent my dreams — that my single acorn-sized life would result in a thousand forests (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
I love the oak tree in our front yard. I have been tromping over these acorns all week on my trek from the driveway to front door. Their crunch under my feet has reminded me about the dream I had decades ago, that God would use my life to plant millions of seeds that would all take root and grow behind me. I am also encouraged that this mama oak is dropping acorns before she even has leaves. Even when I don’t look my best self, I can still plant seeds.
Speaking of a life that has forever results…
If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study in 2023, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and contact me by email. There are plans for an evening online study April 4-May 9. There are also plans for a face-to-face study this summer starting June 7. Let’s focus on things that count for eternity!
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Hi, Friend! Thanks for the reminder that what we do on earth needs to be about serving others, pleasing God, and trusting him with the results. God sees it all and is far more pleased with faithfulness and faithful obedience than he is with any “big” work we might complete in this life. As you say in One Gritty Blink, each of us is a firework that contributes to the beautiful fireworks display. Without each firework, each spark, each light, the display would be less beautiful, less complete, and less powerful.
We just need to do what we are called to do in obedience each day. WALK each day out in faithfulness and leave the results to him.
Absolutely! What you have said is 100% true! I wish my personality and natural inclinations would stop interfering with the simple purity of God’s way. The productivity part of me interferes when I am not paying attention. And this week’s blog was very meaningful to me as I considered that even Jesus died without the majority of his deeds being recorded. I continue to be convinced that eternal perspective is key and well worth fighting for. You have been a major contributor to my ability to do that. Thank you.