Updated: Feb 23, 2020
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' Genesis 1 vs. 28 - 29
God’s first statement to man in Genesis 1 vs. 28 contained 3 things: First, there was an instruction or a specific objective to “Be Fruitful & Multiply” i.e. to be productive, then He gave us the authority and divine backing “Then God blessed them, and God said to them…have dominion”. Finally, God Backed man up with resources in vs. 29 & 30. All 3 contribute the fulfillment of human purpose. Focus on achieving an objective, the authority to alter the normal course of things (because things are not always exactly how we expect) and the resources to back or propel us towards our ambitions are privileges reserved for Children of God.
John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” demonstrates the privileges are restored once we become born again.
Why we need authority is perfectly described (in my view) by Newtons first law of motion – Everything remains at rest or moving at constant speed in a direction until acted upon by some force. The world will question anyone who wants to transform it (in a way that God transformed formlessness into beauty). But Christ has been given all authority (Matthew 28:18) and implies that we have that same authority – a right to set captives free, threading upon dangerous objects without being hurt.
We also have the resources required to meet God’s expectation of being productive. In 2 Timothy 1:5-7, Paul admonishes Timothy to stir up himself and do great things because God has given all that is needed to achieve all objectives: Power, Love and a sound mind. While it is easy to emphasize, and therefore be limited by material resources, Paul assures Timothy that all he needs has been provided by God. Undoubtedly, material resources are required but they are never the most important ingredient to achieving purpose. Indeed, the 3 resources listed above are required to generate material wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and even that is to establish us for God’s purpose. Think of Solomon, who leveraged a sound mind and his power as a king to become one of the wealthiest people described in the bible – in his own way, he also had love. Yet, we know that we, in Christ, have been given these gifts in a greater proportion than Solomon was. The challenge is to use them to achieve purpose.
God expects us to be productive because He is. The first thing the bible tells us about God (Genesis 1:1) is that he created. I like 2 Peter 3:8 & Psalm 90:4 “… with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”, because for me it shows God’s power to do in a day what it takes me a thousand years to do. Interestingly, this aligns with the meaning of productivity i.e. the effectiveness of effort measured in terms of the rate of Output per unit of input. In asking us to be productive, God is asking us to make the best out of whatever He has given us (little or great). Christ’s parable of the unprofitable servant Matthew 25:14-29 sets out God’s expectation for us even more plainly. We must not waste the input (of resources and authority) that God has placed in our lives, for these are the real talents.
A few tips to being productive:
Live by design: Jeremiah 1:5, Galatians 1:15. You are not an accident, you are no coincidence. God has a plan and a design for our lives. The way to find purpose is therefore not to look within (a motivational speakers today will advise you) or look around you to family, friends, teachers, etc. the way to find purpose is to look to God who created you and knows why He did it.
Live Consciously: Once you have identified purpose, the next step is to live like you have one.
Take responsibility for your life. Remember the unprofitable servant blamed his lack of productivity on what he thought of his master as against what was the right thing. The right thing must have been obvious as those other servants traded their talents.
Plan Ahead……it wasn’t raining when Noah built an ark. Luke 14:28. Planning helps prepare and it is important to prepare and prioritize.
Prioritize: Only do things that enhance your purpose. Prioritization helps with 2 things. The first is to cut out things that are unimportant to purpose (friends, activities etc.) and cut them out. The second important of prioritizing is to help us take the right steps at the right time. Imagine building a house and constructing the roof before purchasing the land of building a foundation – this will create a ridiculous amount of waste. Yes, certain steps seem necessary to achieving purpose but are they the right steps right now?
Build a team: People are the most important resources and very often they cannot be bought with money. We can pray for great teams. Our teams include those who advise us, our mentors or those called to co-create something for God.
Recharge: as you live consciously remember 2 things God did. He took time out to look around after each milestone and at the end of his work, on the seventh day, he took a break. So, celebrate milestones, take time out to ask yourself how you’ve done. Also, get some rest. Celebrate your successes but move on quickly.
Live for Christ: Everything in this article comes with one caveat, it is God’s purpose for us that matters. Therefore, knowing God, seeking His face for clarity of purpose and living that purpose matters. If any of the steps are broken, there can be terrible consequences.