The Time Management Version of the Prosperity Gospel

time-management-prosperity-gospel

You have probably heard of the so-called “prosperity gospel” – a false teaching that has taken root across America. Smiling preachers with Rolex watches claim that Jesus came to earth to give you health, wealth, and your wildest dreams.

The prosperity gospel is rightfully condemned by many. Unfortunately it has led many others astray.

But a similar philosophy is just as prevalent among many believers with an interest in time management. We, too, sometimes approach the subject of Christian productivity with an unhealthy agenda.

What Are We Wanting?

We search for wisdom on not being so busy and hurried all the time. We look through God’s word for insight on how we can maximize our impact. We pray for God’s blessings as we look at our goals and our daily schedules.

But why? What is really lurking underneath the surface of our hearts?

At its core, the prosperity gospel bends scripture to serve human interests. Instead of seeing God truthfully, the prosperity gospel depicts a false god whose purpose is to give believers a life of earthly ease.

Are we hoping that God’s perspective on time management can do the same?

Are we hoping to pursue peace through a relaxed schedule or through trusting in God? Are we desiring the sense of fulfillment that comes from a finished to-do list or from our standing with Christ? Are we seeking to snag that promotion or to maximize our kingdom impact? And are we wanting to maximize our kingdom impact for our own prestige or for God’s glory?

Good Pursuits Turn Bad

This issue does get complicated.

God does want us to be free from excessive busyness. He does indeed want us to be productive.

He even has no problem with us “working as unto the Lord” and earning that promotion at work.

But our motivations and desires could transform any task from something that is righteous to something that is unholy. And it’s impossible to clearly tell the difference from external signs.

Self Examination

The prescription is discernment.

In Philippians 3:15, after speaking on how he single-mindedly presses on towards the goal of righteousness, Paul says, “…if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.”

David says in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Take some time to examine what really drives you – what you could live without and what you couldn’t, what would excite you to gain, what would terrify you to lose, what would cause you to despair, and what would cause you to rejoice.

What motivates your drive to steward your time well?

Are we hoping that God will serve us and our idea of what would make us happy?

Photo Credit: Beverly Goodwin (Creative Commons)

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