Working with Purpose: 5 Bible Verses About Christian Productivity

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God’s Word has more to say about personal productivity than you might expect. Here are 5 verses I find myself returning to again and again as reminders of how God wants me to think about the life He’s charged me to steward.

After each verse, I’ll share a few thoughts and points of practical application so you can put these principles into action in your own life.

1. Ephesians 5:15-16 – Be Wise with Your Time

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16, ESV)

We understand the importance of stewarding our money, yet how often are far less disciplined with how we steward our time—something far more valuable than dollars? This verse encourages us to be intentional with how we use our time and to make the most of every opportunity.

Ephesians 5:15-16 - Redeem the time

To apply this principle:

2. Proverbs 6:6-8 – Learn from the Ant

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8, ESV)

Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant

The Bible has a lot to say about planning. Planning doesn’t mean not trusting God, it means taking responsibility for what He’s entrusted to you. In this proverb, the ant serves as a model of diligence and foresight. We can learn from the ant’s example by planning our work and being proactive in our efforts.

To apply this principle:

3. Psalm 90:12 – Number Your Days

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, ESV)

We don’t like to think about death, but sometimes we need to get morbid to get motivated. This verse reminds us of the brevity of life and the importance of using our time wisely. Remember that your time in this life is limited, and what you do here counts for eternity. There is no greater filter for what’s important than this.

Psalm 90:12 - Number Your Days

To apply this principle:

  • Pray! Just like in the Psalm, ask that the Lord would help you keep life’s brevity at the forefront of your mind
  • Create a “well done” statement that will remind you of the brevity of life and your priorities
  • Listen to this sermon on Psalm 90 which shows how to apply it even more deeply

4. Matthew 6:33 – Seek God’s Kingdom First

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

It’s easy to get lost in the flood of goals, to-dos, and just the busyness of life. So much so that we lose track of our priorities. But God has made the main thing absolutely clear for us. And you’ll find when you get this right, the other priorities tend to line themselves up in their proper order.

This verse emphasizes the importance of aligning our priorities with God’s. This call to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness as our number one objective is just one of the ways the gospel shapes our productivity.

To apply this principle:

5. Colossians 3:23-24 – Work Wholeheartedly for the Lord

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV)

Colossians 3:23-24 - Work heartily for the Lord

This verse encourages us to approach our work with enthusiasm and dedication as if we are working directly for the Lord. It’s very easy to get caught up in trying to win the approval of others with our work, whether that be a client, your boss, or even a spouse. But quality work comes when we see our main mission as pleasing the Lord. And the beautiful thing about this verse is it says God will reward that kind of work.

To apply this principle:


God’s Word is sufficient for enabling us to live lives that honor Him (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:3). So we shouldn’t be surprised that the Scriptures speak to issues of motivation, prioritization, work, and personal productivity.

If we want to lead lives that are pleasing to Him, we would do well to listen to and obey what God’s Word says about personal productivity.

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