Imagining Your “Well Done”
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Let’s talk about death.
In a popular 2005 speech, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said,
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
While sadly Jobs was not a professing Christian, my point in sharing that quote is to show that even the non-believing world understands the power of mortality as a motivator.
If you read much on personal productivity or “life planning” you’re likely to come across a technique for helping you leverage the knowledge of your impending death to help you focus on what’s most important.
I’m talking about writing your own eulogy.
I first came across this concept in the book Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt. It sounds a bit morbid, writing your own eulogy, doesn’t it?
Which I guess is because, well, technically it is morbid…
The idea is simple:
- Write out what you would hope people would say about you at your eulogy
- Ask yourself, with my present trajectory in life, would be people really say those things?
- Make the necessary adjustments to your goals and habits
It’s the ultimate expression of “beginning with the end in mind.”
Or is it?
There’s one thing that always bothered me about the practice of writing your own eulogy. It emphasizes living a life motivated by what other people will say about you. When, instead, we should be living for an audience of One.
In the final analysis, much of our faithfulness will go unseen by other people. The hours in the prayer closet, the unseen financial stewardship, and the state of my own heart are all things that will be observed and judged only by God Himself.
If God approves of my life, I don’t much care what anyone else has to say.
So I like the write your eulogy thing, but I would propose just one small modification to the timeline. Instead of writing your own eulogy, write your own “well done.”
Ultimately these lives are a stewardship from God, our productivity then should be motivated by the same hope that animated the faithfulness of stewards in the Parable of the Talents.
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:23)
So here’s my proposal: Instead of writing your eulogy, write out your “well done.” In other words, write out what you hope Jesus will say to you when you meet face-to-face.
Here’s how you could do that.
- Write out what you would hope the Lord would say you’ve done well in stewarding (think family, finances, career, etc.)
- Ask yourself, with my present trajectory in life, would Jesus really say I was faithful in those things?
- Make the necessary adjustments to your goals and habits
No, this isn’t about earning your salvation. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ, your salvation is secure. We are under grace.
But, friend, I want to hear that “well done.” Don’t you?
And I think this simple practice for evaluating our present life trajectory might be one way we can steer ourselves back onto the track when the distractions of this life knock us off course.
Now, let’s get into the Roundup!
✨ New on Redeeming Productivity
In this episode, I’ll share the thinking process that led me to pursue a switching to a dumb phone, what I learned from the experiment, and the steps I’ve taken since switching back to my iPhone to make it less distracting.
Make sure you’re subscribed to the Redeeming Productivity Show so you don’t miss an episode.
If you only read one article from this week’s Roundup, make it this one.
“As Christians, the stakes rise when we consider that what may appear at first as a simple interruption is actually an unplanned assignment from our Lord. So, how can we discern the difference?”
(Jon Bloom / Desiring God)
Self-Help for the Helpless (6 mins)
Renee Zou shares some great thoughts on the limits of self-help books for Christians.
(Renee Zou / The Gospel Coalition)
Check out how Chloe from The Sweet Setup is using Notion to track her habits.
(Chloe Roberts / The Sweet Setup)
This is a profound insight.
“So the question I have is: how does a list of very ordinary human activities go from obvious and unspoken, to vital expressions of self-care? Here’s one hypothesis: Most self-care techniques are simply routine activities that most people did before they gave that time to being online.”
(Samuel D. James)
The Best Internet Filter for Kids (6 mins)
This is a great roundup of internet filtering devices and software to protect your family.
(Brett & Kate McKay / The Art of Manliness)
🖋Quote of the Week
You can think and plan and think some more, but none of that is half as important as doing something
– Andrew Peterson, Adorning the Dark
Resurfaced with Readwise.
🎓 Redeeming Productivity Academy
Here’s a peek at what’s happening this month in Redeeming Productivity Academy:
- Book Club: The ONE Thing. This month, we’re reading The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Follow the weekly reading schedule and discuss the book together.
- January Habit Challenge. Come get your streak on with the January Habit Challenge. Choose one habit, mark every day you do it successfully, and win prizes.
- Toolshed: Beginner’s Guide to Apple Shortcuts. We’ll be talking about how to use Shortcuts on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac to save time, optimize your devotional time, and be more productive.
- Office Hours. Stop by my weekly office hours to get help on a productivity problem, enjoy some casual banter, or just hang out with me and other RPA members.
- Goal-Setting & The Glory of God. This month’s training focuses on how to set effective goals as a Christian, and specifically how you consciously tie your objectives back to your main mission of bringing glory to God with your life.
- And much more. The membership also includes to all past trainings, Toolshed sessions, and access to our always-interesting online community.
Join the community to grow in your personal development, get accountability for your goals, and connect with other productivity-minded believers!
- Protect your soul with screen accountability software. Try Covenant Eyes free for 30-days with promo code “ROSE”
- Redeem your commute by listening to audiobooks from Audible. Listen free for one month.
- When it comes to calendars out of sight often means out of mind. See your whole year at a glance with NeuYear giant wall calendars.
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⌛️That’s All for this Week
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I’ll see you next time!