Several years ago, I heard a story about Benjamin Franklin that got my attention. This man, who was an author, publisher, and inventor, was, by all standards, successful. He accomplished great things that continue to impact us today. Despite his success, though, some people complained that he was not getting things done, that he was not being productive.
Franklin heard the complaints, so he took the time to write down everything he did in a week. From there, he categorized the tasks, grouping them by level of importance. From there, he would put a checkmark or a tally mark next to a task as he completed it, and at the end of the week looked back to realize that his time was not being spent on the important tasks. Instead, he was spending most of his time on things that did not really matter in the grand scheme of things. From there, he adjusted his priorities and was much more respected by those who were working with him.
Have you ever been there? Looking around, feeling like you are working hard but getting nothing done? The words in today’s passages serve as a great reminder of what is truly important.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for man, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
If you were to stop and look at all that you have accomplished in the last 24 hours, how much of it would really matter? Here is the real litmus test: How much of it would point to Jesus? There are a lot of tasks that may seem menial, such as laundry, grocery shopping, or doing the dishes. But even in these things, Scripture tells us that if we are working hard and seeking to honor God with our attitudes, even in the seemingly mundane tasks, then we are serving the Lord.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
—1 Corinthians 10:31
The good news today is that God looks at the heart. We do not have to be people in full-time ministry for our tasks to matter. We simply have to take a page out of Franklin’s book: Stop, evaluate your tasks — and, more importantly, your heart — and work to honor God in everything that we do. When this is our motive, then nothing will be a waste of time.