When Productivity Strangles Joy in Ministry

| February 3, 2015

Time is a significant pressure point in ministry. Ministry involves many things that take an extraordinary amount of time. Wisdom, relationships, faith, and love all take time. They are not efficient. They evade our attempts to control, schedule, or manage them. That’s because they are about people, and about God’s own activity with us. We simply lack the power to control these things. Couple these factors with the pressure of modern culture, which measures success by productivity and efficiency, and everyone in ministry is set up for failure, disappointment, shame, or frustration.

There is a way to care about time that will strangle our hearts, and there is a way to care about time that will give life. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 provides wisdom on this distinction. This parable is about time, about life. But the way you read the parable will lead you either in the direction of burden or freedom.

The parable is a familiar one, especially in discussing stewardship and time. Jesus tells the story of a man who goes away on a journey and leaves his work and property in the stewardship of his servants. In the story, each servant receives a…

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