I have been busy and not having time to blog, but stay tuned. More is coming! Today, I have a book review to share. I recently discovered Reagan Rose’s ministry called Redeeming Productivity, and he has encapsulated the meat of his ministry in his new book from Moody Publishers titled Redeeming Productivity: Getting More Done for the Glory of God.
Rose has sought to provide a theological orientation to productivity that is informed by proper understanding of planning and gifting. Perhaps one of the most important ideas in the entire book is in the third pillar of productivity where he challenges us to view all of productivity as fruit-bearing and not a “machine” focus of so much productivity thinking. That is something that is still with me, and frankly, I am still trying to work through. It is an important caution he offers that we are not mere productivity machines (my terms inspired by his message).
The book is built around the concept of pillars. Each pillar describes something about productivity. Each pillar is followed by discussion of a practical habit that to some degree to supports that pillar.
The first pillar is about where productivity came from, and he ties it to the ownership of man by God. He helpfully puts in perspective how the motive of getting things done is faulty in the world. This pillar is supported by the habit of putting God first through his “POWER” mornings. It is not surprising that we would show God owns us through prioritizing reading the Bible and praying. But he adds to it planning aspects and intellectual stimulation to a 30 minute morning routine. I personally thing more time in the Word and prayer may be needed, but I have found the 30 minute length somewhat helpful to try out thus far.
The second pillar is about our motive for being productive, and here in he calls attention to glorifying God. After explaining the difference between God’s intrinsic glory and ascribed glory, he puts in perspective the benefit of having purpose–and that purpose is to ascribe glory to God. The second habit is getting organized. This is one habit that seems to have a little less to do with its pillar. However, his call to encourage people to get organized is convicting and may be helpful to some.
The third pillar describes what productivity really is for Christians, and it is fruit-bearing for God. This middle chapter of the book is something of a climax of the book as I read it. This is one of the most important sections as it develops the idea that we are to glorify God through fruit bearing as disciples. It is here where the previous point is made that we are not productivity machines. It is also here where his theology comes out clearest, and in broad brushes his discussions of John 15 and Ephesians 2 are okay though there is some disagreement I might have (from a classic Chaferian free grace perspective, see one other article I have on that). He points out the importance of not just what we accomplish, but how we do it. The third habit is the COPE approach to task management. This is a jam-packed habit which is very practical, and it is here where some interaction with explaining why fulfilling tasks are so important to us. I have been trying to apply his system of task lists myself, and it may have injected some freshness to my task management system.
The fourth pillar is where productivity comes from, and it is here where a helpful focus is given to our gifts. He points out effectively how our gifts, mixing to some degree spiritual gifts and natural talents, are the way we can really be productive. He goes further though by pointing out spiritual resources (such as prayer, purpose, an eternal perspective) can make us truly energized to be productive. This chapter too was very practical, and I created a reminder of these points for me even in my job as I seek to be productive for Him. His fourth habit is the creation of goals. He has an effective pyramid concept of showing how God’s glory is the top of a pyramid with different areas of stewardship, goals, projects, and then tasks. He uses the common SMART method for goal setting, but he also points out that a failure to accomplish a goal when it isn’t presumptuously set may just be a case of God’s providence hindering it and one is not to be faulted in the way a world. This one I admit is difficult as I don’t like leaving things undone (as Rose even noted earlier in habit 3. But it was a very practical thing. I need to grow in the area of goals in my personal life. I also modified his proposed areas of stewardship somwhat, but I think that is allowable.
Finally, the last pillar addresses a subject he mentioned early on, that of motive. He points out our motive is eternal rewards. He rightly helps us see that being motived by the acquiring of an eternal reward is not sinful but is healthy. The final habit is a take on the idea of a vision statement but cast in a much more helpful practice. He suggests that we type out a “well-done” statement of how we want Jesus to greet us when we face the final judgment. I recently did this practice and found it very helpful to me to give verbalization to what I hope from my wife as I seek to honor Him. his final pillar and habit were a great second pinnacle of the book.
If I am to criticize the book at all, I will point out that the influence of John MacArthur in his thought is evident throughout (he has a M.Div from The Master’s Seminary), and this is positive in some aspects and negative in others. Those familiar with MacArthur’s theology may pick up on these overtones (primarily I have in mind Lordship salvation), but it isn’t that strong and the general structure of Rose’s approach is not weakened by such issues.
If you happen to be already familiar with his ministry, if you’ve done some of the major Redeeming Productivity Academy courses, then there may not be much new material in this book. The benefit of this book is a book form that encapsulates the most important material he has developed. His approach to productivity is refreshing for a Christian, and I am already working to apply it to my life. I recommend it to you who want to glorify God with your life while living faithfully in this present world.