Reviewed by Dr Sneha Kirubakaran
3 MINUTE READ
To explain Gospel-Driven Productivity, Perman states, “The gospel changes everything. It affects the way we go about all areas of life – the workplace, business, the arts, culture, serving the poor, everything. … When we are driven by the gospel, we act in God’s power and work for the peace and prosperity of everyone.” He quotes John Wesley who said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”
In his preface, Perman identifies twelve productivity myths and counters them with contrasting truths. Here are three of my favourites:
- Myth #3:
“It is not essential to give consideration to what God has to say about productivity”
Truth: “We cannot be truly productive unless all our activity stems from love for God and the acknowledgement that He is sovereign over all our plans.”
- Myth #5:
“The way to be productive is to tightly manage yourself (and others!)”
Truth: “Productivity comes from engagement, not tight control. When we are motivated, we don’t need to tightly control ourselves (or others).”
- Myth #6:
“The aim of time management should be our peace of mind”
Truth: “Productivity is first about doing good for others to the glory of God.”
With chapters such as, ‘Why we need a uniquely Christian view on productivity’ and ‘How the Gospel makes us productive’, Perman lays a solid Biblical foundation for seeking to maximise our productivity. He then challenges and assists readers to identify their mission and life goal. He gives the example of William Wilberforce whose mission was to “glorify God and enjoy him forever”, and whose life goal was to “bring an end to the slave trade.” Perman notes that we can fail at our life goal while still accomplishing our life’s mission. With these driving vision statements before us, Perman works through a series of practical techniques to better accomplish them.
Articulating my mission (“Delight in God and delight Him”), helped me to see that each day could be a rich source of activities and events that accomplish this mission. So, I can rejoice in God and give Him great glory regardless of how many things I have ticked off my to do list. It shifts the emphasis from me to Him. Articulating my life goal (related to some lofty medical education dreams I have 😉), enabled me to recognise that I need to prioritise activities that move me closer to accomplishing this goal over things that will not, even if they are good activities. And the most useful practical tip I have incorporated into my life is to process my email inbox down to zero daily! Perman argues this will decrease the cognitive load and enable you to effectively and efficiently accomplish the tasks in your inbox. I can attest to this!
So, whether you are a goal-oriented, action-oriented, productivity junkie like me, or just a simple servant seeking “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” I can recommend this theological and practical book.
Dr Sneha Kirubakaran
Dr Sneha Kirubakaran is the current National Chair of CMDFA. She is an associate professor with the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School and the head of the Regional Training Hub Central Queensland in Rockhampton. She locums as a Rural Generalist in small country hospitals around Central Queensland .
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- Perman M. What’s best next: How the Gospel transforms the way you get things done: Zondervan; 2014, 2016.