Time Management Lessons from the Bible - Jordan Raynor
You’ve just said it to your spouse or to your coworker or you yelled into the air above you: There are not enough hours in the day! Your to-do list feels like it’s never ending, and new requests keep coming into your inbox. Meanwhile, your phone is vibrating with alerts, and you have to drive somewhere to pick up something, and you feel like: it’s already halfway through the day and Where has all the time gone? Today, we’re going to talk about getting a handle on your time management, with Jesus. Jordan Raynor is someone who knows a lot about being busy. He is a serial entrepreneur, now the Executive Chairman of Threshold 360, a tech startup which he formerly ran as CEO. Jordan is also an author of a series of books including: Redeeming Your Time, 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present & Wildly Productive.
- Ephesians 5:15-17
- Matthew 5:16
- 1 Corinthians 15:58
- Deuteronomy 6:7
- Matthew 3:17
- Genesis 2:2
- Matthew 4:1-11
- 1 Chronicles 29:12
- 1 Corinthians 15:58
- Romans 5:1
- Ephesians 2:8-10
Additional Resources Referenced
Redeeming Your Time, by Jordan Raynor
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Leah Archibald: Making It Work is brought to you by The Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Theology of Work Project.
Mark Roberts: Welcome to Making it Work.
LA: Through conversation, scripture and stories, we invite God into work’s biggest challenges... so that you can live out your purpose in the workplace.
MR: I’m Mark Roberts.
LA: And I’m Leah Archibald. And this is Making It Work.
You've just said it to your spouse or to your co-worker, or maybe you yelled it into the air above you, there are not enough hours in the day. Your to-do list feels like it's never ending, and new requests keep coming into your inbox. Meanwhile, your phone is vibrating with alerts and maybe you have to drive somewhere to pick something up and you feel like it's already halfway through the day, where has all the time gone? If this is how you feel, you are not alone. Today, we're gonna talk about how to get a handle back on your time, with God. Our guest Jordan Raynor is someone who knows a lot about being busy. He's a serial entrepreneur, now the Executive Chairman of Threshold 360, a tech startup, which he formally ran as CEO. And Jordan is also author of a number of books, including, Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive. Jordan Raynor, welcome to the Making It Work podcast.
Jordan Raynor: Leah and Mark, it's a joy to be with you guys. Thanks for having me.
LA: So, Jordan, I'm glad you're with us today because this is actually one of the biggest questions that we get from listeners, how can I do more with less time? So, let's start off by asking that, is that question even possible? Can we do more with less time?
JR: I think it is possible, right? Because the Apostle Paul commanded us to do it. [chuckle] After a long exposition on the Gospel of grace in Ephesians, he gets to Ephesians 5:15-17. And as he always does, he's anticipating his reader's question of, "Okay, Paul, I get it, I'm saved to do good works in this world." How do I respond to the Gospel? How do I do this? And he says, "It is possible." He says, "See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." In other words, we're running out of time to do the work God's called us to do in this world. And so, it is possible. I have seen myself be able to, by God's grace, redeem some of my time and have a fairly productive career these first 10 or 12 years of my career. And more importantly, I've seen the Lord use this book, this content change people's lives. To make them more purposeful, present, and productive in the image of what I think we see in Christ, and how He stewarded his time in the gospel biographies.
LA: So this is where the title of your book comes from.
LA: Redeeming Your Time. It comes from this verse in Ephesians 5. So, what does it mean to you to redeem your time? What does that mean regards to your work?
JR: Yeah, it's a great question. So the word here, if you look it up in any concordance, it really means to buy up or to ransom. Paul is saying that time management isn't this secular thing. Tim Keller commenting on this verse, says it's a Biblical command. We are called to roll-up our sleeves and buy back as much time as we can. Now, here's where this diverges from conventional business thinking on this topic. We're not called to time management so that we can make ourselves rich and famous. The reason why we care about redeeming our time... [chuckle]
LA: Really, I'm so bummed.
JR: Shocker, right? We care so that we can do more good works that bring God glory. See Matthew 5:16, so we can create for his eternal Kingdom. See 1 Corinthians 15:58, so we can make disciples and impress the Lords on the hearts of our children. See Deuteronomy 6, and just enjoy God in His good blessings. We redeem our time not for our own glory, not for success. Success isn't the idea. We do it for God's glory and service to others.
LA: So can you give an example from your life of what does that look like in practical terms to redeem your time?
JR: Yeah. I mean, the book really spells that out in about 60,000 words, right? [chuckle] It looks multifaceted. It looks like, perhaps ironically, resting more, so that I can be more productive. It means, taking time to descent from the kingdom of noise, so that I can think clearly and hear the Lord's voice as I'm trying to prioritize my to-do list. Those are just a couple of the examples of the principles that I outlined in the book, that really make way to the super practical content there.
LA: Mark, I wanna bring you into this conversation, because when I was reading Jordan's book, I was thinking, redeeming my time is a different way of thinking about it. Is there something about the language of the Ephesians that we should really get back to in our conversations about time these days?
MR: That's an interesting question, the verse says, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” So there's a sense in which... It's like, life is going on out there and it's not good, but if I make a good choice about my life and my actions in a way, I'm like, buying a piece of that time out of the slavery to evil into goodness. And that's kinda cool.
JR: Mark, It's really good. What I think of when I think of this term 'redeeming' and Paul saying that the days are evil, we have a real enemy who is trying to thwart the effectiveness of God's people. And one of the ways he does that is by distractions, is by making our world noisy, by making our world chaotic and robbing some of these minutes from us. So when I think about redeeming, it's like, fighting back against these things so that we can reclaim, buy up, ransom, redeem some of that time and use it for the purposes by which God has called us to in this life.
MR: Yeah. That's a great way to put it. By the way, we should just mention, if there are listeners who are looking in their Bible and they're saying, "Yeah, I can't find that Verse." [laughter] The 'Redeeming the time' language, that's a very literal translation. And that's the King James Version.
MR: Most modern versions say something like, "Making the most of the time."
JR: There you go.
MR: Or, "Using every opportunity," and that's the idea, but just in case you're puzzled, like, "Where is he getting this?" [laughter] That's a very literal...
JR: What Ephesians 5:16 is Jordan reading? [laughter]
MR: Yeah. Yeah. It is the King James translation, but it's a very literal. And the thing I love about that older translation is the richness of it. So yes, it's about making the most of the time, but that's a kind of a prosaic way to put it. Redeeming the time, really gets at... And it's the thing you just said, Jordan, it gets at this idea that we can actually claim something that's not good and make it good, really, by the way we claim it and redeem it. So, it's just a richer way to think about it.
LA: This leads into a piece of practical advice that I want you to get at Jordan. You give a lot of practical advice in this book, I have to say. So for example, one of the pieces of advice you give is about needing to break the addiction to the news cycle and to your smartphone.
LA: And turning off the smartphone alerts. Turning off the number of times that you check news in order to be productive. So, tell me how this worked in your life?
JR: Yeah, no, this is a great question, and I think this is a good opportunity to introduce kinda how I wrote the book. So, there are these seven principles. I think when you look at the Gospels for the biographies that they are, you can see at least seven principles that you see in the life of Christ of how he manages time. And what I've done is I've expounded upon those seven principles and then connected them to 32, as you say, wicked, to use Boston language, wicked practical practices to help us live those out in the 21st century. For example, when you look at the Gospel biographies, Jesus, the amount of times Jesus, as I say, dissented for the kingdom of noise is staggering. He was always found at solitary places, in lonely places, right? And that just stands in stark contrast to us today. We're constantly consuming news. We're constantly on our smartphones, responding to messages, intaking information.
And I just don't think that we can think clearly, be creative, and listen to God's voice and thus prioritize the work that he's given us to do, if we're constantly intaking new information. News is great. Information is great, but at some point you gotta turn it off and just sit still and think. So that we can not just be efficient, but that we could be effective in how we're using our time. So there have been lot of things... Lots of things in my life that have led me to those practices, but primarily, it's been in just looking at Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, through this lens of saying, "Okay. Jesus had 33 years on this earth. He had 24 hours a day, the same 24 hours that you and I have today. How did he steward his time?" Those led to the principles and the principles then in turn led to all of those practices.
LA: Yeah, but he didn't have an iPhone. You know, I mean...
JR: That's exactly right. [laughter]
LA: I mean, Mark, tell me, is it really comparable the times that Jesus was living in and the distractions that we have now? Do you back up Jordan, on this point?
MR: Well, I would, I would just say it's a whole lot worse now, and the temptations to be distracted are so much greater. I mean, I've experienced that even, and I'm not as old as... I mean, I wasn't around when Jesus was there, but I've been around for a while. And it was... Actually, it was about maybe six or seven years ago, where it occurred to me that my ability to pay attention to my work for longer periods of time had pretty much disappeared. And that was really kind of a chilling discovery and realization. And I realized it had everything to do with the interruptions that would appear on my computer. Every time I got a new email, the little number comes up, every text message, I had all these notifications, and I realized that I had really changed the wiring of my brain and it was very chilling to me. And I had to make some pretty tough choices, which by the way, Jordan, I really appreciate your stuff on this, 'cause it's like, you're a cheerleader for these choices, and I'm pretty good at them now, but there's always the temptation to go back to being just continually interruptible. And what we do see...
LA: So what did you have to do, Mark? Did you have to set clear disciplines on how often you would check your email?
MR: Yes, and it's almost embarrassing what I had to do, literally, there are various apps you can put on your computer to help you to do this. For example, there's an... And some of it is just a timer app. And one of the things I said is, I'm only gonna check my email... At first, it was every two hours. And that was a hard thing to do, I had to rewire my brain. But I had this little reminder thing, so at two hours, the little wolf would howl, and then that's like, "Okay, now I can check my email." And I mean really, I feel kind of embarrassed, but I needed to get back. It was like, I used to be able to play the piano well, but I was so out of practice I had to go back to scales and really re-learn things. And so, I've taken almost all notifications off my technology. Jordan, one thing you talk about is, you can prioritize certain people and the technology can let them get through, which is important and good. But I'll be honest, I have to fight the urge to distract myself all the time, and that for me is... Yeah, they're distractions and they're externals, and Jordan you talk about external.
MR: But you know what, it's the part of me that wants the excitement of the external that I've really gotta manage.
JR: Yeah. The very literal dopamine hit that occurs when you check your phone and find a new text message or a new social media. I wanna say one more thing, going back to the example of Jesus, I wanna clarify something that I say in the book. Of course, Jesus' distractions in the 21st century don't compare to ours, but we gotta be really careful of chronological snobbery here. Jesus was clearly distracted. There was one time a guy literally dropped through the roof over Jesus' head as he was preaching.
Like, if you've never had somebody drop...
LA: That helps take your mind off your train of thought. [chuckle]
JR: Yeah, it's like, if you never had somebody drop through the roof while you were typing away at a proposal, you're not more distracted than Jesus was. Sure, the distractions are different, but again, we gotta beware of this chronological snobbery. Now, to Mark's point...
MR: You know...
JR: Go ahead, Mark. Sorry, go ahead.
MR: No, I was just gonna say that, that's good, because there are many places in the Gospels where Jesus is doing something, and all the sick people from the area are coming to him. Now, I gotta say, that'd be even harder than to ignore a text, right?
MR: 'Cause now you have people in need far beyond your capacity to deal with them.
MR: That would be a tough...
JR: Literally in your face, not in your pocket. Yeah.
MR: That would be tough.
JR: But going back to what Mark said, Mark, you said you felt embarrassed, man, you shouldn't, because all of us struggle with this. And right now, one of the greatest threats to our ability to do the work God's called us to do are external distractions, I.e., non-stop emails, non-stop texts, etcetera. Let me give an analogy to try to paint the picture of where we're at culturally. Imagine if the mailman instead of coming to your house once a day started coming 150 times a day. [chuckle]
But here's where this gets crazy, he doesn't stay at the curb, he comes to your front door, rings the doorbell, and you drop whatever you're doing, open the door, grab the mail, maybe you open it, maybe you don't, but you at least steal a glance at who it's from. We would check you into an insane asylum. But that is exactly what we're doing with text messages and email today. So real practically, I'm gonna walk you through one of the 32 practices in the book. Here's how you can solve this problem.
LA: Alright, let's do it.
JR: Here's how you can solve this problem. Three steps. Mark already alluded to some of it. Step one, you choose when you're gonna check your messages every day, not the crazy mail man. And what matters way more than the number of times you check your messages, is that you choose when you're gonna check. So, for Mark, it's checking email every two hours, great. If that works for you, awesome. If you need to check it every hour, that's fine, but you're in control that's step one. Step two, you wanna build a list of VIPs who can have access to you, any time, not just at the times you're checking messages. So for me, my VIPs are my wife, my kid's school, my assistant, a few members of my team, that's about it. And then once you have your list of VIPs, add them to the favorites list on your iPhone or your people list on an Android device. Turn on Do not disturb, and then calls from those people and those people alone will come through, when you're trying to do your deep work throughout the day. Last step, step 3.
You've chosen when you're gonna check your messages, you've built your VIPs, now you've gotta set clear expectations with those VIPs. You send a very simple message, "Hey, I'm trying to be more focused at home and at work. So from now on, I'm only checking email and text at X, Y, and Z times, but you're VIP, so if you need me urgently, don't text, don't email, call my cell phone and I'll pick up every single time." If you do those three steps, I can almost guarantee you, you're never gonna miss anything that's truly urgent and you're gonna be doing your work way faster and with a heck of a lot less anxiety.
MR: I love that.
LA: I think sometimes when I read a time management book, I feel more stressed as I'm reading it because there's this heavy dose of shame that comes along with it, like, "Oh, the author knows what they're doing and I don't know," and you don't dish that out on the reader, I think because you start with the framework of grace that our time is a gift from God, and God wants to partner with us in our work, and you know what, if we don't get everything on our to-do list done, that's okay. We're still gonna be beloved by God, and there's always gonna be things left undone, that's not for us to control. Our job is to do the best that we can with the time that we've been given. So I think... I appreciate your positive energy both in this tidbit that you shared with us and in your book, because I don't feel like a terrible person reading your book, like when Mark said, "Oh, it's confession time," I have to confess that I set and used a app to help me check my email only two hours, I think we all have those.
We all have this sense of failure because there's so much to do, and because the external and internal distractions are so big. So I think we all... We can all get down on ourselves if we don't have that sense of grace that you bring to this project.
JR: Yeah, and listen, there are 60,000 time management books on Amazon right now.
LA: Are there really? [chuckle]
JR: Which is just a silly number and I've read, let's call it the top 50 perennial sellers in this category, a lot of those books you were referring to, Leah, and this is why I wrote Redeeming Your Time, because I was tired of reading…as helpful as those books are, we gotta recognize common grace and the Lord's ability to communicate truth through believers and non-believers, but as helpful as those books were, they were all based on works-based productivity. The implicit message was, "Hey, if you're feeling swamped or you're feeling overwhelmed, follow the author’s system perfectly, do exercises X, Y, and Z, and then you're gonna find peace."
Yeah, listen, the Apostle Paul tells me I already have peace. Romans 5:1 through Christ, I have ultimate peace with God, so I don't do time management exercises on this wild goose chase to get peace that I can't attain in my own strength anyways. I do it as a worshipful response to the peace that has already been graciously given to me. And because that's the foundation, I can have grace with myself when I don't finish my to-do list, when I do check email more than once every other hour, when I don't get my coveted eight hours of sleep because I know that I don't need to be productive, I wanna be productive, the Gospel compels me to be productive, this is Ephesians 2:8-10, but I don't need to because regardless of what I do, I'm a beloved child of God.
LA: Now, I wonder, do you think the pressures are different across different industry or maybe perhaps with different class of workers, are people in different professions facing different time management challenges?
JR: Oh, no question, different time management challenges and by the way, that message I just shared, it's great that God doesn't need me to finish my to-do list, but there's varying degrees of pressure for your boss, from your boss for you to finish your to-do list based on where you're at in your career, in your socio-economic class.
You bring up an important point that I haven't talked about in the book but I wanna bring up here. As leaders, just talking specifically the leaders of our organizations right now, it can be easy to approach any book like this and say, "What can I get out of this? How can I redeem my time?" I think the redemptive, the sacrificial thing is to think about, "How can I use these principles to help my team redeem their time," recognizing that if they work less, not only are they gonna flourish, but it's also gonna make the organization more productive, recognizing that not only do I want a Sabbath, but, man, even if I'm not convicted of the Sabbath, I should probably Sabbath so that my team can enjoy the gift of Sabbath. I just think we approach these books and these topics selfishly sometimes. I'm talking to myself here. And so I'm just trying to get in that habit of thinking, "Okay, I've got a lot of the stuff I can value, but how can I serve those underneath me on an org chart with these principles and these practices?"
MR: Man, absolutely. And you mentioned Sabbath. That's actually clear in the Sabbath that you're supposed to... You're not supposed to do any work. And then also, your male and female slaves aren't to, and your livestock, and the alien resident, the immigrant. So basically, you're to make sure that everybody gets rest, right?
JR: Yes. Sabbath is communal, but we're so hyper-individualistic these days that we can fail to see that.
MR: Well, so let me... A very specific example. What can we do as a leader? So my boss Michaela, and she is a wonderful leader. Every now and then we'll get an email from her on the weekend. But it'll often have this little note at the top, "You don't have to look at this till Monday."
JR: I love that. I love that.
MR: And she has said to us, "Sometimes I... " 'Cause she's a mom, young kids. "Sometimes I'm gonna have to work on the weekend. I do not expect you to work on weekends, unless, of course, there's some crisis, in which case, I make that clear." So there's just... So she's giving us freedom and permission. And that's just, I think, one example. But that's a really good example.
JR: That's a terrific example. I'll give you another one. So we talked about this a few minutes ago, this idea of only checking email, Slack messages, whatever, a few times a day. You as an employee can do that right now. You can go to your boss and say, "Hey, in an effort to better serve you and the work, from now on, with your permission, I'm only gonna check my email four times a day." But as the leader... So there was a really interesting study done that found that something like 60% of employees expect, assume that their boss expects them to respond to messages immediately, even though the boss has never explicitly said that to be true. It's just this implicit, unspoken social contract.
So if you're the leader, one of the ways you can radically bless your team right now in five minutes before we end this podcast, send an email to them and say, "Hey, guys, I've heard some of you guys assume that I expect you to respond to messages immediately. This email is letting you off the hook. From now on, you have 24 business hours to respond to my emails. And if I need you more urgently, I'll call your cell." That'll change people's lives. You wanna talk about how to retain people and the myths of the great resignation? That might be the simplest, most effective strategy you can deploy right now to change people's lives and radically increase the productivity of your organization.
LA: Jordan, I absolutely agree with you but I also feel that there's this push back from... Not from the Bible, but from our culture, from some of these non-biblical proverbs that we have in our culture about time. For example, we have this saying that we repeat over and over again, Time is money. And so how can we separate or tease out the idea that, "Oh, time is money, always gotta be working full tilt, as hard as possible," how would you reframe that for us?
JR: Yeah, I would just point to Scripture itself. Talking specifically about this hustle culture, time is money, always be working, the God of the Bible worked six days and rested one. Jesus Himself observed the Sabbath. And actually there's interesting data that's starting to come out that's showing that Sabbath, sleep, taking breaks throughout your day, on the surface, these things look terribly unproductive, but in reality they are one of the most productive things you can possibly do. So rest is good for our goals and the work that we've set out before us, but as Christ followers we also know that rest is good for our souls, because it reminds us that when we're not productive, we're still beloved children of God. And God's purposes will not be thwarted if I sleep for eight hours every night.
MR: You know, I love that. And that's right on. Leah, the other thing I'd say, you asked about, "What do we do with these 'time is money' messages and all that?" You know Jordan, one of the things you really encourage us to do and guide us through, is a process of really thinking through our lives in terms of what matters most, our mission and our callings, and kind of only as you work through that stuff can you finally get clear on what your priorities ought to be. And so you're really giving us an alternative approach to not just sort of accepting whatever the popular wisdom is, but really in a biblically grounded way, framing our lives and understanding who we are and what we're to do in light of who God is and what God has done in Christ, and then what our part is, and so... I just wanna point that out, that that's one of the main ways we can stand up, I think, against some of the messages that would take us in different and in negative directions.
JR: Well yeah, I think one of the overriding messages of our time is, "You do you," right?
MR: Yeah, right.
JR: You get to define the mission of your life, you get to define your purpose. There are so many books out there today and courses, what have you, helping you craft a personal mission statement. Listener, let me let you off the hook right now, you could take all these books off your reading list. The mission of your life is to glorify God, period, full stop. That's it, that's the mission of your life. Now, you have great freedom, God in His goodness and His grace has given you great freedom into how exactly you're gonna live that out. But that's your purpose. And so Mark, you're talking about chapter four of Redeeming Your Time, where I'm helping readers prioritize their to-do list, 'cause a lot of people just look at the to-do list they have on their phone right now and say, "How do I prioritize this thing?" I think we gotta go a few levels up before we could really answer that question, and so the metaphor I use is one of this five-story building.
So imagine a five-story hotel, people come into the front door on the ground level and say, "How do I prioritize my to-do list?" You've gotta get up into the elevator, go up to the top floor, that fifth floor, and work your way down. So the fifth floor is your mission, why you exist. You exist to glorify God. A level down from there, the fourth floor are callings. What are the unique expressions that you're gonna choose to lean into to glorify God? So for me, my three primary callings are to my wife, to my kids, and in my work as an entrepreneur. A level beneath that are long-term goals, which I would argue, this is where you really start to get to prioritize that to-do list, by setting bigger long-term goals. The second level are quarterly goals. And then the final level, the ground floor is that day-to-day projects and next actions list. But you can't just start with the to-do list you've got, you gotta work your way up the elevator to really get clear on what you believe God's called you to chase after in this season of life.
LA: And I think for many people, when you're stuck in the onslaught of, "Oh, I gotta get so much done, I gotta get so much done," you don't think that you can take the time to ride that elevator up to the fifth floor and look down, and I think what your book does, and certainly what God does through God's grace is give us the permission to say, "Look, take a step back. [chuckle] It's gonna be worth it in the end." You have to break the cycle of always addressing what is urgent and never addressing what's important.
JR: Yeah, and this goes back to dissenting from the kingdom of noise. It's why this is Chapter Three, before Chapter Four, where you prioritize your to-do list. You can't prioritize your to-do list if your world is constantly noisy, right? Look at Jesus' example, He comes up out of the waters at His baptism, and the Father speaks over Him and says, "This is My son in whom I am well pleased." If there was ever a moment where you would expect Jesus to stand up and start preaching, this is it, right? There was an audible voice for the head that said, "This is it, this is... "
LA: He's got an endorsement. Let's go right now.
JR: He's got an endorsement, let's go.
LA: Take advantage of it.
JR: But instead, the Spirit leads Jesus to the wilderness for 40 days of quiet solitude, and it's only after those 40 days of quiet, that He comes back and kicks off His ministry in earnest. Now, I don't wanna say Jesus needed those, He's God, He didn't need those, but He took those 40 days of quiet before He really started that work in earnest. Man, we've gotta do the same thing. If we wanna get clear on what matters in our work, in our lives, we probably can't afford to take 40 days, but can you take a four-hour retreat to just be quiet and turn your phone off and stop consuming information to think and to pray and listen to the Spirit, I think we can all do that. My friend, Mark Patterson, says we spend more time planning a one-week vacation than we do the rest of our life, that's convicting, and I think largely true for most of us. We've gotta figure out how to be more proactive about setting these priorities.
LA: Jordan, I am so floored that you brought up this story of Jesus in the wilderness, because we've been talking a lot about the external distractions that come up that keep us from redeeming our time, but I think to me, this story also points to the internal distractions that we might face so, Jesus absolutely did after His baptism, go into the wilderness and take 40 days, but it wasn't like a lovely meditation retreat. He's literally tempted by the Devil in the wilderness. He has a very tough time facing these temptations in the wilderness, and for me, when I sit in quiet time to a time marked to 30 minutes, it can often be a tough time, it's not like, "Oh, this is so rejuvenative, I feel fantastic." It's often, I'm really staggered by the amount of distractions internally in my own brain, the fears that come up, the worries that come up, all these internal things are things I would like to run away from as well.
JR: Yeah, no, it's really good. So there's a section in the book called the five enemies of depth at working at home. By depth, I mean the ability to be fully focused on one important person or thing at a time. So in that example, Leah, being focused on God's work and so external distractions are only one of those five, the other four are largely internal distractions. The distraction to do fake instead of real productivity because fake things are easier, the distraction of quick highs and the dopamine rush of checking my Instagram likes, the distraction of the savior complex, which if I'm honest, might be the most tempting for me.
We complain about getting a lot of emails or getting a lot of texts or whatever, but I think in a way, we love them because they make us feel important and they make us feel needed, and then the last internal distraction, I think is this make shift omnipresence, this idea that we have sold ourselves, that we can multi-task, we can mentally be in more than one place at a time. It's an attempt to grasp at being God, of being at multiple places at once 'cause He's the only one that's truly omnipresent, so yes, external distractions, we gotta wrestle them to the ground, but Leah, you're so wise to point out that there are so many more internal distractions that we gotta be cognizant of and do battle with.
LA: And this is, I love that you put it in these terms, because this is the same thing that Jesus was wrestling with in the desert. So you've convinced me, Jordan, now that Jesus did not have less to deal with than I have to deal with, okay. [laughter]
'Cause He was actually confronted by the Devil. So I'm on your page, now that we can use Jesus as an example, but Satan was tempting Him with the same thing, like Satan was saying, "You be God, You turn these stones to bread." And Jesus answered, "You know, that's not for Me to do." I mean, what He literally answered was, "Man should not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." But Jesus started to say in three times, "It's not Me who's gonna do it, it's not man who can do it, it's God who can do these things." And I think that the temptation just as you named is just the same, I wanna take over God's work because that seems more manageable. And I would have more control over it if I took over God's work, and that's just not gonna lead any of us into a place of peace.
JR: It's a failure to recognize what we see all throughout Scripture, and I'm thinking of First Chronicles 29:12 in particular. David's talking to his son Solomon, and he says, "Hey, son. Wealth and honor come from God alone, for He rules over everything." In other words, you're not gonna produce results for this nation as you're king. God alone produces results through our work. Now, we hustle... He often does that through our hustle, through our hard work, but He is responsible for the results, and that's the truth that enables us to rest in a radically different way than the rest of the world. The rest of the world, non-believers are told hustle, hustle, hustle. Everything's up to you. The Christian faith says everything's up to God. So we gotta be faithful, and that requires doing the work, but faithfulness also requires trusting in God and resting. John Piper says, "God's job is fruitfulness. My job is faithfulness." That's the idea.
LA: I love that, and I feel like that's a good last word [laughter] to end on.
Jordan one last question for you. When people meet you or you think of what your legacy is, do you wanna be seen as a productive person or do you wanna be seen as a present person? Do you wanna be seen as a purposeful person? What is your highest ambition for yourself in your work here?
JR: Man, I wanna be seen as all those things. I wanna be seen as all those things at work and at home. You know, when I think about my mission though and the legacy I wanna leave my kids, the Capital C Church, I wanna help Christians respond in many different ways to the radical yet biblical truth that the work they do matters for eternity. And redeeming your time is just one expression of that. If you believe that as Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:58, that the work you do today is not in vain, you should care about redeeming your time and doing more work with excellence and love and in accordance with the Lord's commands, it's gonna work forever. That's gonna last forever. So that's what I wanna be "Known", I don't know that I wanna be known, honestly, but if I am known for one thing, yeah, it's helping Christians respond to that radical truth that their work matters forever, and that includes redeeming the time because the days are evil.
LA: Well Jordan thank you for spending some of your time with us today. It's really been a pleasure.
MR: Yes, indeed. Thank you.
JR: It's been my treat. Thank you, Mark and Leah.
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