In my Facebook post, I mentioned that I have prayed to be more fruitful these past 2 weeks. Fruitful in a sense that I will see results from what I routinely do in homeschooling and home-managing. In a way, I was actually praying to be more productive! What difference does it make? The choice of words may spell a whole lot. Strictly speaking (although I am not an expert on this, but I based it on my degree learning), “Productivity”is an economic measure of output per unit of input. It is that measurable result , what the world views as being “successful” for being able to accomplish something at a certain period of time with the certain amount of resources and effort. Now this is where most of us fall into an easy trap. We sacrifice our families, relationships into the altar of success. We become slaves to time and whole bunch of “to-do” lists so that we can be successful. Don’t get me wrong. I am a person who likes to map out things for the week and ticks off anything that’s in my checklist. Funny as i prayed about being more fruitful, our local church is on a preaching series entitled “Proof”. Last Sunday, the topic was about Extreme Productivity. Indeed, our work is a reflection of God’s grace in our lives. Our bodies are designed to work. Adam was placed in the garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it. Work is a wonderful blessing given by God for man to be able to accomplish His greater purpose. As I write, I think about how I measured my week in terms of productivity, and everything was accomplished as I saw fit. Not because I do it on my own, but because of the grace of God that has enabled me. Truly, productive work is a proof of His grace! But wonders of wonders, God has blessed me with even more. He has opened up doors of opportunities. He has added more friends in my circle (living in a new place these 2 months). What’s more, He has taught me that beyond productivity, I should be “fruitful” in a way that as I do things and have that resolve to accomplish them, the fruit of the Holy Spirit should be evident in my life and in my work.
What’s the fruit? Galatians 5:22-23 says,
” But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
When I tried hard to finish something on schedule for my kids in their lesson tracks, am I being manipulative? Am I being patient when I see that my younger son needs more time to understand the lesson than what I thought I could spend for a single subject? Am I saying the right words to my children when I get them to work on a household chore or am I nagging? When I left the workplace to be a full time home-manager (I’d like to call it this way. God makes my home, I am His steward. I am in effect, managing it, along with my husband!) , I prayed that His peace will consume me. And true enough, each day He tells me that what I do or do not do does not define me. My security does not come from a title or position, or the perks that come along with it, nor from the business that we tried to build, but my security is from Him alone – He who has held me at the palm of His hand – where I am most secure. Or when my husband irritates me on some petty things that I shouldn’t sweat about, am I keeping my temper in check, controlling my tongue so I may not fire away those hurtful words? Each moment, I am constantly checked – what does productivity mean when I have neglected the more important things? What’s with all the checking off the list when I hurt the people whom I love because of my selfish goals?
Which brings me lastly to faithfulness. In our marriage, I am becoming more sensitive to the seasons that God has marked in our lives. There is a time for everything . We have cried a lot in separate times, in the most difficult of trials, together. We laughed at simple joys like not having money to spend for a Sunday treat for the kids and so we hied off to the nearest school’s soccerfield where they get to play for free. Priceless! Got down together on our knees to pray and ask God that we endure through the sufferings and rejoice for the things that He has allowed to happen even if we do not like it. God is faithful. In this new season in our lives, He teaches me to be faithful still. No longer as an employee or a business manager, but as the steward of my home and my children – on a full time basis. It is a daily reminder of what comes first – a priority check. That is why when that new door opened, I cannot afford to jump into it right away. Although admittedly it was tempting at first! I have the ‘Cross filter’ in making a decision. I want to be faithful with the new responsibility that He has given me in the area of homeschooling. I am not to please my husband nor win the approval of men. I pray to hear the applause from heaven.
“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15