Our staff and prayer group partners begin tomorrow morning to work through an excellent article by C. J. Mahaney entitled Biblical Productivity.
The author hits hard right out of the chute with his own personal realization at some point in his journey that just how often my busyness was an expression of laziness, not diligence.
That struck me as a most provocative notion. It also intrigued me as I qualify, I think, as a pretty busy person. It also scared me as I began reading knowing that the article would shine the light on my habits of schedule and work and perhaps reveal that I too might fall into the category of a hectic sluggard. Not a pleasant prospect.
Mahaney takes aim at sins of procrastination in this thoughtful, biblical, and practical article. He challenges the reader to examine the sins (pride, fear of others, laziness, pleasure seeking and escapism) that potentially lie behind not just being a procrastinator but also a work-around-er. That is to say we might actually buzz diligently around a room or office doing this or that, while the one thing most needing to be done sits unheeded in the middle of it. Underneath procrastination, says Mahaney, more than likely lies a sinful heart, not so much a busy schedule. Convicting stuff.
To make war on these sins, among other things, Mahaney keeps a copy of this quote by the Scottish preacher, Alexander MacLaren (1826–1910) posted under his computer monitor for daily reflection:
No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.
I think the first thing I will do when I get into the office tomorrow morning is print out my own copy of this quote and post it at my work station. How about you?
Aaagh, I’m melting! Curse you, Mahaney!
Without even having read his article (yet) I know I’m in for a beating.
Ok seriously Pastor Curt? First Oswald beats me black and blue and now this? I’ll be limping for a week….
I feel your pain, brothers!
I also feel the pain and look to these verses in Hebrews for comfort and perspective:
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
I ordered some extra icepacks when I saw this article on our agenda. 🙂
Good text in Hebrews, Evan, and the ice packs, Kevin, will still probably be needed as we press deeper into the article. 🙂