I’ve recently read through a few books to study the topic of stewardship. In the process of reading about the use of time, I was helped by a few resources. I’ll share them below with a brief explanation.
Focusing on passages like Psalm 90 and 139, the author helps sharpen our biblical focus on the value of time and the priority of redeeming it well. He labors to frame our minds up from God’s perspective so we might see things rightly. I appreciated the practical emphasis upon what can drain our time and the ways we can thoughtfully and go about using it for the glory of God.
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung
I have heard nothing but good things about this book. I’ve actually given away several copies without reading it (a practice I rarely do). But here in the new year, I wasn’t as busy, so I read the book and realized how crazy busy I’d been. DeYoung writes with pastoral wisdom and personal transparency. I appreciated his emphasis upon the lordship of Christ and the implications for our own personal stewardship. Insights into pastoral ministry, parenting, and personal priorities are super helpful. The chapter on screen time is also valuable.
Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies
Tim’s work here continues to be so helpful. He brings out the implications of biblical productivity, that is, structuring your life to do the most good for the glory of God. With clarity and simplicity, he helps to identify common obstacles to productivity, the power of daily routines, and some helpful tools for getting things done. If you want to use your time more wisely, and you work in a digital environment, Tim’s book helps immensely.
While not writing from a Christian perspective, the author helps readers think through our commonly held dogmas about time and productivity. A key takeaway from Bailey is his discovery of the relationship between our time, energy, and attention. He writes, “If you want to become more productive, managing your time should take a backseat to how you manage your energy and attention.” Some of the common conclusions were vindicated in his study. We need to eat properly, get plenty of rest, not waste time doing things that don’t matter and make sure we are doing the right things. But he also aimed to blow up the myth that working longer is working better (or smarter). He says, “Productivity isn’t about doing more things—it’s about doing the right things.”
Deep Work by Cal Newport
In an age with myriad distractions and expectations for immediate responses, we can often become slaves to the urgent. This wastes a ton of time. And as we do, we sacrifice the ability, privilege, and joy of completing cognitively demanding tasks. Newport wants to expose the problem and provide a path forward. It is as practical as it is informative.
“The Preciousness of Time and the Importance of Redeeming It” by Jonathan Edwards
This is one of my favorite sermons by Edwards. He helps to show the preciousness of time, and well, the importance of redeeming it. The way he brings out this truth is still fresh and full nearly three centuries later.