Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive by Jordan Raynor. WaterBrook. 240 pages. 2021
Like me, you may have already read a few books about productivity. I’ve read good books by Tim Challies and Matt Perman, and recently read Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor (Called to Create, Master of One), which I commend to you.
Raynor tells us that the solution to our struggle with time management is found in Jesus Christ. He tells us that Jesus offers us peace before we do anything, and also that Jesus shows us how God would manage his time. Because he was infallible God, we can assume that Jesus managed his time perfectly, providing us with the ideal model to follow. As far as what makes this book different from other time management/productivity books you’ve read, the author tells us that this book:
- Accounts for how the Author of time managed his time.
- Seeks to collect and connect the previously disconnected pieces of the time management puzzle.
- Attempts to strike a unique balance between the theological, the theoretical, and the tactical.
The title of the book comes from Ephesians 5:15:17:
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
In that passage, Paul tells us to redeem our time to do the will of the Lord. How we do that is what this book is all about.
The book covers 7 biblical principles, each representing a separate piece of the puzzle to redeeming our time. With these principles are 35 helpful practices. Along the way, with his characteristic fresh and interesting writing style, the author shares tools and helpful stories to illustrate the principles. He also shares bonus resources that I found helpful at a related site the reader is directed to.
The author tells us if our aim is to redeem our time, it is imperative that we start with God’s Word, where we can find practical wisdom as to how to redeem our time. Specifically, he looks to the life of Christ, where he examines seven time management principles from the life of Christ and maps them to corresponding practices that can help us live out those principles in the twenty-first century. Among the many topics covered in the book were our daily devotional time, open loops, a Commitment Tracking System (using OmniFocus software), solitude, goals, objectives and key results, deep work, interruptions, distractions, scheduling appointments with ourselves, sleep, rest and Sabbath rest.
The author wants us to know that the gospel frees us from the need to be productive. God doesn’t need us to finish our to-do lists. He loves and accepts us “no matter how many good things we do” and no matter how productive we are.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Our work matters today because it is a means of glorifying God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. But our work also matters for eternity because God can use it to build his kingdom.
- God doesn’t need you or me to finish our to-do lists. If the things on our to-do lists are on God’s to-do list, he will complete them with or without us.
- For the Christian, the key to being wildly productive is realizing that you don’t need to be productive. Because once you realize that God accepts you no matter how many good things you do, you want to be productive for his agenda as a loving act of worship.
- The very purpose of our lives—the reason we were created and saved—was to do “good works,” that advance God’s kingdom and glorify him in the process.
- Prioritizing daily time with the Author of time is one of the primary ways we can demonstrate our devotion to the Lord. And nothing will have a greater impact on our efforts to be purposeful, present, and productive towards his aims.
- Good work requires good thought, and good thought requires great solitude.
- Noise limits our ability to think. And if we don’t have space to think, we can’t discern the essential from the noise and prioritize our to-do lists. And if we can’t prioritize, we can’t focus on the work we believe God has called us to do.
- Whether you’re a basketball player, an entrepreneur, a designer, a working mom, a woodworker, or a writer, what matters is doing our most exceptional work for the glory of God and the good of others. But to do that, we must redeem our time. And to redeem our time, we need to get crystal clear on what matters most on our never-ending to-do lists. We must clarify what we’re saying “yes” to so we can say “no” to nonessential things along the way.
- To redeem our time in the model of our Redeemer, we must develop the habit of identifying what matters most on our to-do list at any given point in time.
- While our mission in life is discovered, our callings are
- The way you serve your employer well is by being fully present, doing focused work that yields tremendous output. The way you serve your family well is by being fully present physically and mentally when you’re at home. In today’s distracted world, being fully present is one of the most valuable presents you can give.
- Life’s too short to spend time on things that only deserve half our attention.
- You will never be able to “go deep” at work or at home until you believe this truth: You have more control than you think over when you respond to incoming messages.
- As Christ-followers, we are compelled to pursue excellence in each of our callings in life. And excellence at home requires time, attention, and focus. In other words, depth.
- Rest is not just productive for our Rest is also productive for our souls.
- Sabbath is a day for ceasing and feasting.
- Hurry is the great enemy of our ability to be purposeful, present, and wildly productive.
- Discipline is a gift, but it can also be a curse. It can become an idol.