So far in this series we spent time Defining Laziness and Idleness and looking at their dangers, and we’ve tried to understand the process of Overcoming Laziness and Idleness and The Importance of Time & Purpose in Rooting Out Laziness & Idleness. To conclude, let’s look at the difference between rest and laziness as well as at how significance trumps productivity.
Laziness is not rest, and rest is not laziness. The difference? Purpose. Rest involves a deliberate choice to recharge in order to make the most of one’s time, while laziness drains and feels wasteful. For purpose to exist in rest, it must be…
- Regular (Genesis 2:3)
- Restorative (Exodus 23:20)
- Required (Exodus 23:12)
- Refreshing (Exodus 23:20)
- Received (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Reached (Hebrews 4:1-13)
- Remarkable (Revelation 14:13)
Laziness and rest are really opposites. Rest rejuvenates for more productivity with purpose while laziness burns energy without any purposeful progress. One remembers the value of time. The other forgets. In fact, the more rejuvenating rest we deliberately seek, the more we’ll find ourselves operating from a place of rest rather than always having to constantly seeking it.
Productivity’s value also lies with significance. Productivity for the sake of productivity means accomplishing tasks just to check items off a “to do” list. Yet, simply accomplishing tasks, hacking through a “to do” list, fails to bring purpose.
Significance must be a priority over productivity. This involves doing what matters in light of an eternal perspective, and doing so illustrates the value of time. That may mean working off a “to do” list at times, but we can too easily get wrapped up in the idleness of productivity. This happens in the absence of significance.
Our goal with our time involves making the most of every opportunity we’ve been given (Ephesians 5:16). Doing so merges significance with valuing time. In that, we find the purpose needed to ward off our culture’s and our flesh’s constant pull toward laziness and idleness.
As this series concludes, consider what constitutes the focus necessary for making sure our time and productivity center around significant purpose. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” In other words, help us value our time and use it wisely. Our time gains value when we realize we can’t control tomorrow, we are vapors, and God’s will gives purpose to our time (James 4:13-15).
God desires that we control our focus. To do so, we can do as Joshua did, and choose where to cast our gaze and how to spend our time by making a deliberate and declarative focus on what God desires (Joshua 24:15). We an also realize the fleetingness of time.
As we focus on God and His will, we learn to value every moment as precious. We learn to obey His commands for regular rest and to heed His warnings against laziness and idleness. We begin to let Him direct our lives according to His purpose. As we progress in this way toward perfection, we find that each moment of our lives serve to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
DISCUSSION: What are you doing in your life to ensure you have proper rest and that your productivity & time have eternal significance?