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Six Great Bible Verses on Productivity
Hard work and talent should be enough to guarantee productivity, but there are talented, hard-working people who do not experience the results they expect. Their efforts leave them dissatisfied, and deep within they know that there is more to life than the drudgery they endure.
Even more important than hard work is a healthy work ethic, built on the premise that the strength to work is a gift from God, to benefit the worker and those who depend on him or her.
The table below lists six ethical work principles which are practiced by productive people. Following them are six Bible quotes which affirm these qualities as prerequisites for productivity.
the obligation be answerable for the responsibility one accepts
disposition to do good in the interest of others
constant and earnest effort to accomplish the job
willingness and liberality in giving and sharing
continual effort to achieve even though the task is difficult
knowledge coupled with good judgment
To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. – Matthew 25:29
Accountability helps those who are willing but need motivation to toe the line. It is better to be accountable and productive, than to be a self-dependent loser.
In the parable (Matthew 25: 14-30) which this verse summarizes, workers were given money to invest. Most reported 100% profit and were promoted; the one worker who reported being too cautious to try, lost his capital to the most productive. He may have thought that since he was entrusted with the money, he could do with it as he pleased.
Accountability prevents the steward from acting as though he is in total control. He is more productive using his talents for the total good than when being concerned about selfish ideas and preferences.
Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.-Titus 3:14
Benevolence toward the needy must have a goal—to help position them for productivity. Productive people cannot be satisfied with supplying the needs of unproductive people without helping them improve.
Practical help must follow the theory of how to live. Along with lessons on the importance of responsibility, the unskilled need to be taught skills; the unclothed need clothes to wear; and they may need bus tickets at the beginning of a work assignment. Their need provides opportunity for somebody to do a good deed, thereby promoting productivity within the family or community.
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise. - Proverbs 6: 6 (NKJV)
“The ants are more diligent than slothful men. We may learn wisdom from the meanest insects, and be shamed by them.”1
“The habits of this insect, its diligence and providence, have in all ages made it the symbol of these two qualities.”2
Ants are exceptionally strong in comparison to their size. They use the talent of strength that they have, and accomplish phenomenal tasks in small strides. They believe in division of labor, and they pull their weight. Their system of organization makes them a threat to extensive food crops and large buildings. These are the habits which make them capable of remarkable productivity. Their wisdom and diligence make them worthy of imitation by human beings.
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. - 2 Corinthians 9:6
The law of planting and reaping is logical: few seeds produce small crops; lots of seeds produce large harvests. The principle is universal.
The farmer’s planting is a metaphor for giving and receiving in any commodity--financial investments, good deeds, labor. If productivity in labor is expected to be a generous yield, the effort must also be generous.
Generosity in the character of the individual also runs parallel to productivity in business. Adam Grant in Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success convinces readers that givers achieve more than takers who try to protect themselves from the competition by putting themselves first. He is known as a compulsive giver—practicing what he preaches. His New York Times Magazine profile states: “For Grant, helping is not the enemy of productivity . . . it is the mother lode, the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity.”
Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both. – Ecclesiastes 11:6
Gill’s Exposition on the Entire Bible interprets this verse as a mandate for the entire life span—the morning referring to youth and the evening referring to old age. “Good is to be done at all times, as opportunity offers, throughout the whole of life, and in all conditions and circumstances . . . make use of all opportunities.”3
Whether the morning and afternoon are understood as parts of a literal day or a life span as Gill suggests, the advice intends to prevent an idle period following a good start. Even if one period is unproductive and the next period brings the results, productivity is still possible. If all periods are productive, that is even better.
Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5: 15-16
“People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time.”4
Bad times may drive some people into becoming careless and immoral. They may waste time in frivolity, get drunk and become hateful and hurtful. Productivity would not be on their agenda.
The same bad times can cause wise people to live cautiously. This verse encourages finding opportunities for progress no matter the circumstances. Nothing should bar the vision of productivity and prosperity.
Bible quotes in this article are from the New Living Translation unless noted otherwise.
1 and 2. Bible Hub: Matthew Henry's Concise Commentaries and Pulpit Commentary, Proverbs 6:6, Copyright 2004 - 2014 by Biblos.com
3. Ibid: Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Ecclesiastes 11:6.
4. Ibid: Matthew Henry's Concise Commentaries, Ephesians 5: 16
© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers