“…let us also lay aside every weight…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Do you want to be productive? Don’t get organized. Get enthralled. Get smitten. Get on fire. Really want to do something. Want to do it bad enough that you are willing to say no to good things that will inhibit your doing what you really want to do.
Then work on organizing. Productivity systems will only help you when you know what you want to be productive about. Otherwise you’ll always have more books to read, projects to complete, emails to answer, people to meet than you can possibly organize. You’ll just shuffle stuff.
If you’re passionate, you will prioritize your time. If you’re dispassionate, you will dissipate your time.
I think the need of the hour is for more holy ambition, not more training in workflow systems. Listen to John Piper explain to children about how a holy ambition focuses us:
‘Holy ambition’ means something you really want to do that God wants you to do. Something you want to do so much that doing it keeps you from doing other things that you also really like to do. Paul really wanted to go to Rome for years1. But he didn’t go because he wanted something else more. He wanted to preach the gospel in Asia and Greece where people didn’t know about Jesus. He really, really, really wanted to do this. We all that kind of desire an ‘ambition.’ And we call it ‘holy ambition’ when it is something God wants you to do.2
Jesus’ holy ambition is to call all his elect redeemed sheep (John 10:16). Paul’s holy ambition was to preach the gospel where it has not ever been preached (Romans 15:20). What’s your holy ambition? How are you seeking the kingdom first (Luke 12:31)? Is God calling you to do something that is compelling you to say no to good things that will only weigh you down (Hebrews 12:1)? Or are you finding your time dissipating?
Before the summer is over and time demands increase again, read A Holy Ambition. Read it to refocus on what God’s global priority is and to stoke your own holy ambition.
Jesus didn’t say much about organizing. He did say a lot about passion for what’s most important. Passion is a far better prioritizer than any productivity system. May this book help fan your holy ambition into a hotter flame so you will lay aside every unnecessary weight.