A Look At Rest & Productivity

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.

Ulazynderstanding Rest

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…

  1. Regular (Genesis 2:3)
  2. Restorative (Exodus 23:20)
  3. Required (Exodus 23:12)
  4. Refreshing (Exodus 23:20)
  5. Received (Matthew 11:28-30)
  6. Reached (Hebrews 4:1-13)
  7. 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.

idleSignificance Over Productivity

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.

Focus Determines RealityFamilyValuesScripture

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?

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19 thoughts on “A Look At Rest & Productivity

  1. Thanks for a great series, Kari. I'm finding that just making the effort to use time intentionally helps. A list. Watching how much time I spend on breaks. A monthly goal list. And also, making sure I keep God first in my life – working through all the issues that fight for that place. Because when He's not first, I'm not as likely to be pursuing the things He wants me to pursue.

    • I am glad you liked it, Barb. It's amazing how just being intentional can make a difference. And for some, this means measuring like you are. I love that you point out the key to all of this: Keeping God first. We must keep our focus on Him if our time on this earth is to mean anything.

  2. It is hard to think of rest sometimes as productive. Sometimes you have to have a friend help you find that balance; who will say hey Kari it is time you took a break. 🙂 We need to do that for others too. I think sometimes it helps in a family if one will recognize the need to take a break even if it is only 15 minutes to help everyone out. I know when I am tired I am not sharp and I know I do not do my best when I am "off". I may work really hard but if I am off and not doing that which should be done then it is for naught.

    • Accountability is very important for sure. I actually am continually reminding friends to make sure they rest enough. My husband and I do that for each other, more him supporting my need for rest and my reminding him he's not superman and needs it too. We are more efficient and happier people when we have enough rest. Good point!

  3. It really requires diligence. What I've found is that there are sooooo many things I'd like to do that I can easily squeeze out proper rest time (sleep). Really appreciate the concept and sharing of the fact that moments matter. Understanding purpose matters. Making a difference matters.

    I try to reflect on the interactions I have and whether or not I've left the person better than where I found them.

    • We need to realize that rest actually helps us be more productive; whereas, if we try to squeak out "just one more thing" all the time, we will actually be less productive. Reflection is a huge part of this process for sure. We have to think about our lives, look at ways to improve, and take the time to make plans to do so. John Maxwell talks about this in his book "The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth" by talking about how essential reflection is to the growth process.

  4. Well kari. As you know i went on vacation two weeks ago and I lost my bike. Perhaps that was God's way of saying, "Bill relax." Since I have been home I have not been able to ride so I am doing a lot of reading (other than the Bowflex). A bike will soon be on its way and then maybe my body will have recovered from (possibly) overusing it.

    • I think exercise CAN be relaxing, but I think it can go completely the other way too. I have seen it taken to both extremes, but I know it is highly individual too. Maybe you did need to read & crosstrain instead. For me, it\’s a way to get out of the house. I am sure you\’ll really enjoy that first ride on the new bike!

  5. Taking time to rest and be difficult due to work, building my platform, church, and family. I have started to take a few hours when coming home from work to spend time with my wife and son and relax. After they go to bed (around 8pm or 9pm) is when I'm on my computer connecting with people online or writing. Though every once in a while my wife allows me to spend time on my computer before they go to bed which is nice. Reading other blogs and connecting with people on social media is relaxing for me which is a benefit to building my platform:) Great series.

    • Yes, it can. You have to deliberately build it in and know that it has just as much importance, if not more, than many other things. I just know that I failed to rest enough several years ago, and my body eventually said, "enough." Since then, my husband and I have learned to take more time to rest, and I am finding that I am more productive when I am fully rested. Just wish I would have figured that out 15 years ago.

  6. Hi Kari and all, Focus…I like that. Something I think I may be able to control? I thought about Peter who took his eyes of Jesus and sunk. I do the same. Stop focusing on Jesus and I sink just as quickly as Peter did! As for rest, well I have not been good at that during this mini vacation. A good book makes it hard for me to stop reading and sleep, and then visiting family, better get caught up as the man will be home Saturday. Don't want him coming home to a grumpy wife!

    • Reading can be very restful, at least it is for me. Sleep isn't always restful, but we do need sleep to rest. Figuring out your combination and then staying consistent are key. And balance is important too!

  7. I sure love the perspective that we have to trust God to direct our days and that significance has so much to do with how we spend our time.

    I have been caught in the trap of wanting to spend more and more time blogging because it can give me a significance fix that my husband and kids have a tough time competing with.

    It seems to help to ask myself why I'm doing something in the larger sense.

    • I do the same thing with blogging. I need to write as an outlet for dealing with life. It's how God & I talk to each other and how I work through what He has me focus on in my own life. Yet, I know I need to balance that. The Bible clearly establishes the importance of relationships, and I need to make that a priority.

  8. Rest to me is all about humility. It's acknowledging that God tells me to rest – and I just trust that his way is best. It forces me to admit my limitations and forces me to be even better about setting priorities.

  9. great post
    I had been wasting a lot of time in my life.This post is really a source of inspiration and helped me to understand
    the value of time.

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