Productivity & The Biblical Workweek
02/27/20 10:47 AM Genesis
You’d be surprised at how many things we can learn from the first chapter of Genesis. When people think of Genesis Ch.1 they usually just think of Sunday School pictures artistically illustrating each day of creation, but rarely ever do people go to Genesis 1 in an attempt to better organize their life - To be more productive!
I’m going to start this study out by referencing several verses from the ‘parable of the talents’ that Jesus taught in Matthew 25. It reads:
Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Matthew 25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So, I picked this study because I’m coming off of a really busy season of mine. Since late September my kids have been going non-stop to hockey practice or games virtually every night of the week and on weekends as well. In addition to that I coached 3 of their teams and am an active board member of the youth hockey association they play for.
We view hockey, and other youth sports, as an important way for our kids to learn life lessons and is a great way for us to be involved locally in our community. But because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t kept up with our weekly studies as much as I’d like to. Giving up hockey isn’t an option for us, but I know I need to prioritize my schedule better in order to keep up with my ministry obligations. I don’t want to be one of those whom Jesus said, “Cast you that unprofitable servant into outer darkness.” I take those words very serious. We all should. So, in an effort to be more productive and efficient with my time I decided the best place to start is Genesis Ch.1 to see how God structured His work-week.
Is there some kind of a pattern there to help us be more productive with our time?
You’d be surprised at how many things we can learn from the first chapter of Genesis. When people think of Genesis Ch.1 they usually just think of Sunday School pictures artistically illustrating each day of creation, but rarely ever do people go to Genesis 1 in an attempt to better organize their life. To be more productive.
These days we hear all kinds of sermons about GRACE, but we don’t hear too many about WORK!
And we need to.
Surely if there is a chapter where God did something as significant as creating the Heavens and the Earth in 6 days, there must be something we can learn from how He did it. There must be some things we can use as an example to model our own work-weeks. Right?
Of course there is. Let’s get into the Word!
DAY 1 – CREATED LIGHTGenesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Before anything else, before we are told what God did for these seven days, God gives us the BIG PICTURE of what He was going to accomplish this week. His goal was to “create the heaven and the earth”. That was the purpose of this week.
Since our goal in this study is to learn and model our workweeks after God’s, we need to ask ourselves, “How can I apply this piece of information to my life?”
Simple. Each week we need to know what we want to accomplish before we begin. In other words, we should set weekly goals. Without goals we are left without a purpose just wandering aimlessly through life, constantly wasting time or doing things that aren’t increasing our productivity. Now someone would say, that’s not entirely true, “I don’t make weekly goals but I know what my purpose is. I still get a lot accomplished.” Well, that may be true. But how much more focused would you be if each week had a specific goal assigned to it? Would it be easier to stay on task? Do you think you would prioritize your daily tasks better, in order to accomplish your weekly goal?
Of course you would.
Just think of how many distractions come up each and every day that cause us to spend time on things that do not bring us closer to our dreams and aspirations. With a specific goal and a system in place to reach that goal, you can kick those distractions to the side and focus on what matters. Wandering around on the internet, wasting time watching TV, you name it. There are all kinds of time sucks out there waiting to grab hold of us, and turn us into “the unprofitable servant”.
Proverbs 4:25-27 says:
“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot.”
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Without form and void- This is an important statement. The earth started out formless, just a bunch of raw materials. Isn’t that how all projects start out?
When I built that little shed out back, I ordered all of the materials from the lumber store, then a big truck came and dropped it all off in one big pile. I then went out, took inventory and further divided those materials. Just as we’re going to see God do in the verses ahead.
Before any of that begins though, we see something very interesting – The Spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters. The Spirit moving seems to be the first thing that needs to happen before a work of God begins.
Spiritually speaking, before God can begin to form your life from Chaos and disorder to becoming a child of God, His Spirit must move.
Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Let there be light- Hey, that makes sense. Before most of us begin working, our spirit must move (wake up!), and we turn on the light. That seems to be what God did here.
You know, many times I set my alarm for 5:30 am just to hit snooze after it goes off. I’d be better off just jumping out of bed without hitting snooze. That’s where self-discipline must come in.
Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
First step in creation was dividing things. Getting organized. Do you do better in an organized work environment or a sloppy environment? Seems simple. I think this is something that is very important though. I know if the kids are messing up our house and the kitchen is messy, I can’t think or get started doing anything until things are back in order. If it’s time for me to make a homemade Pizza, I don’t want to even start until their books and papers are picked up and I have a clean counter to work with.
I’ve come up with a rule in our house that things must be kept clean and orderly at all times. Still haven’t figured out how to enforce that one yet, but we’re working on it.
Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Notice how God gave names to things. Naming things helps bring order out of disorder. Could you imagine if nothing had a name?
When sorting through something for a project, it’s a good idea to label and classify things. If you’re writing a book this would be equivelant to naming your chapters, sections, etc. Use headings to divide things.
DAY 2 – CREATED HEAVENGenesis 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Let it divide the waters from the waters- More dividing and separating things. It’s a process.
Genesis 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
Genesis 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
DAY 3 – FORMED LAND AND SEAGenesis 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Genesis 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
God saw that it was good- Notice how God looks back and reflects upon His progress. At the end of each day we should do the same. Look back at your accomplishments and take pride in your work. If something needs improvement, take note of it and remember to do it better next time. Many people keep a daily journal for that type of thing. In the Army, we used to do what was called an “After Action Review” where we talk about what went well and what we can do to do better.
But keeping track of your progress is important. In the book of Psalms it talks about how we are to be like a tree planted by rivers of water (Psalms 1). And you know something about a tree. Every stage of its growth is recorded. If you cut a tree cut a tree trunk in half you can see all of the different rings, usually one ring per year. Some rings are bigger than others, this is because some years the tree grew more, usually because there was more rain. In years where there isn’t much rain the rings will be smaller, especially if there was a drought.
Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
DAY 4 – FORMED SUN, MOON, & STARSGenesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Divide the day from the night- Again more dividing, more putting into order that that was out of order, forming the unformed.
Genesis 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
God set them in…- Part of God’s work involved placing things in position.
Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
Here we have the earth’s first form of government, the sun to rule over the day, the moon and stars to rule the night. This government is still in effect today, think of all of the different governments around the world, they may run things there own way, but one thing none of them can control is the timing of the day. Our lives are governed by the rising and setting of the sun. When it is morning, we get up to work, when it is night we go to bed. Each rising and setting of the sun is a day. No one can stop that from happening.
The sun moon and stars also give us our seasonal calendar.
Genesis 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
DAY 5 – CREATED SEA LIFE & BIRDSGenesis 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
And God blessed them- Part of God’s workday included giving a blessing to his creatures.
Genesis 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
DAY 6 – CREATED ANIMAL LIFE & HUMANSGenesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Genesis 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Fill the earth and subdue it- God has His work and we have our work to do! Our job is to put the earth in order and keep it that way. To put it simply we should be busy growing families and civilizing the world. There are lots of ways to do this – Farming, inventing, creating, managing, you name it.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Genesis 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
DAY 7 – SABBATH REST / WORK ENDEDGenesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
God finished the work He set out to do, all His goals were accomplished.
Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Could you imagine if work weeks had no beginning or end? If there was no Sabbath Day we’d be on a never ending cycle of work, no time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
CONCLUSION:How to apply this lesson practically. Come up with your vision, your plan for each week, dive in and get started. If you have a big project you keep putting off because you can’t find the time to do it, stop procrastinating! Do a little bit each day, and before you know it, the project is done.
Proverbs gives more advice, this was just a basic template. Habit creating, blocking out time,
A slothful man says “A lion is outside, Proversbs 22:13”.
A mighty tree takes time to grow, ring after ring.