Our Most Crucial Role & the Need for Goals

Today our weekly morning prayer group finally resumed our discussion over breakfast of C. J. Mahaney’s helpful article on biblical productivity.

We’ve covered thus far in our reading some of the challenges of busyness masquerading as productivity and procrastination, to some guidance and help in how to ensure real productivity in our lives, to lately the consideration of the stewardship of the roles each of us has and the importance of setting limited goals weekly for each of those roles.

As a result of my interacting with this article I have identified six roles God has entrusted to me:

  1. Christian
  2. Husband
  3. Father
  4. Extended family member
  5. Ministry leader
  6. Neighbor

Mahaney rightly says that no other role is more crucial or central than that of “Christian.” And yet we mostly like assume this role and its responsibilities when we write our schedules and even consider it optional when other demands press.

He recommends identifying two specific goals as a subset of what it means to follow Christ:

  1. Communion with God
  2. Participation in the local church

Regarding the first, he writes:

The consequence of neglecting a personal goal is nowhere more serious than when we neglect God and neglect our own souls. Scripture sternly cautions us to enforce all diligence over our hearts: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, ESV). We must study our hearts. We must monitor the condition of our hearts. We must work by the grace of God to employ the spiritual disciplines to keep our hearts with all vigilance.

Regarding  the second, he advises we ask ourselves the following questions:

  • When and how am I intentionally serving those around me? this year? this week?
  • When and how do I care specifically for those closest to me in the church? this year? this week? (For some of you, this will consist of serving those in your small group.)
  • When and how do I pray for and support my pastor? this year? this week?

I particularly like that last bullet point. 🙂

Jesus told His followers in John 15:5, I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

That last phrase alone ought to grip us with the importance of intentionally scheduling spiritual goals lest the cumulative effect of our efforts amount to nothing.

A Sweet Way to Fall Asleep

Tomorrow morning our weekly prayer group will continue our discussion over breakfast of C. J. Mahaney’s helpful article on biblical productivity.

We’ve progressed in our reading beyond the challenges of busyness masquerading as productivity and procrastination to now some guidance and help in how to ensure real productivity in our lives.

Mahaney casts a vision for the reader in one simple sentence: It is sweet falling asleep knowing we have redeemed the time. That’s a reference to Eph. 5:16 and Col. 4:5 which the ESV renders as making the best use of the time.

His prescription for arriving at this day’s end sweetness on a regular basis he summarizes like this:

As I hope you will discover for yourself in this series, our biblical productivity depends upon a schedule, which depends upon clear goals, which depends upon clearly defined roles. Working toward clarity on understanding my present roles is my first (and most important) step in developing biblical productivity.

Mahaney contends that planning for a particular week doesn’t begin with one’s schedule but rather with considering one’s God-given roles. He says, If I am not fulfilling my roles, my goals will be misdirected, and I will be vulnerable to all manner of requests and fail to devote myself to what is most important.

Don’t underestimate the significance of this principle. There is great liberation in the reminder that we are not called to do everything.

Mahaney quotes Gene Veith:

In our earthly lives, we do not have to do everything. Earthly life—and this is operative with non-believers no less than believers—consists of giving and receiving, serving and being served, in a network of economic and social and personal interdependence (The Spirituality of the Cross, p. 76).

So here’s the formula: productivity = roles + goals + schedule.

What are your God-given roles? Go ahead. Write them down.

You just might sleep better tonight.