How to fight back against the idol of productivity

The laundry and grocery shopping needs to be done. There are kids to pick-up, and disagreements to resolve. You’re trying to get going on the day, but something broke on the car or in the house, and you’re running late. Again. 

Life feels like a frantic uphill climb, and we cannot seem to cross anything off the to-do list yet again. Surely, this isn’t the life God saved us for when He sent Jesus to the cross?

You’re right. It isn’t. Contrary to what culture might tell you, you are not what you produce, and your value is not based on your ability to produce. 

You are not what you produce, and your value is not based on your ability to produce. 

God loves you because you are His, not because you get things done. You are God’s beloved, and He grants rest to those He loves. 

“It is useless for you to work so hard
    from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
    for God gives rest to his loved ones” (Psalm 127:2, NLT).

Rest is a gift, and a reminder of who our Dad is. Rest is a practical way to say, “God, I love you, and I trust you to take care of me.”

How the Sabbath Helps Stave Off the Idol of Productivity 

After God finished creating, He rested (Genesis 2:2-3). We are made in God’s image, and when we rest, we imitate Him. We take on what is rightfully ours as children of God (Hebrews 4:9-10). 

We are to work, and we are to rest. This is God’s rhythm, and it’s the rhythm He tells His people to keep. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work ...” (Deuteronomy 5:12-14). 

A Sabbath is simply a day of rest. When we keep the Sabbath, we remember the significant work Jesus accomplished on the cross. There is no sacrifice, religious act, financial contribution, or good deed that can earn the gift Jesus gave us

When we remember what we’ve been rescued from, we celebrate the Rescuer. We take our eyes off ourselves and fix them where they belong. 

When productivity becomes an idol, it takes over our thoughts, our words, and our schedules. It causes us to covet, compare, and judge as we boast in what we are capable of — fooling ourselves into thinking we did these things our own.

Jesus reminds us that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Every breath, every talent, every dollar we bring home is a gift from God. 

Resting reminds us we are not (and were not) designed to accomplish everything on our own. God wants to be involved in our day-to-day.

Where We Get the Ability to Rest

Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28). 

Resting doesn’t come naturally in the cursed state we were all born into. We see what people are doing via social media and assume we should be doing all those things as well. So we add more to our already busy lives.

That’s why the Sabbath is God’s gift to us. God knew rest would be necessary to sustain life. We were not designed to run at the pace we put on ourselves. We were meant to live free, fully rested and rejuvenated in Jesus’ presence. 

Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and striving after wind. - Ecclesiastes 4:6 

We find peace when we remember the lengths Jesus went to be in a relationship with us. He died for us before we ever did a thing for Him. 

When we remember we have nothing to earn from God, we can choose confidently to rest before God. He already loves you. He wants to be a part of your day, guiding the decisions you make and the tasks you take on. 

Proverbs 1:32-33 says those who listen to God will dwell secure and be at peace, without dread of disaster. Consider the daily, monthly, and annually habits that allow you to rest. If you’re not sure, or it’s been too long to remember, ask God to show them to you. As we let Him shape our rhythms, we’ll find we accomplish more because we’re operating our of rest, not exhaustion. 

Related Content

to Discover More


Love America, Worship God

community worship idolatry

“God Bless The USA” took singer/songwriter Lee Greenwood to No. 7 on the country music charts in 1984. This ... read more

Read Article


Three problems with insecurity

identity idolatry self worth

Insecurity: a nasty little habit that seems to follow you at work, at home, and when you’re with friend... read more

Read Article


Loving Conversations

From Elephant in the Room

Sep 9, 2019

identity racism culture politics

Yelling or ignoring. How church has traditionally engaged culture is the elephant in the room. Dan Lian invit... read more

Watch Sermon


Top Resources on Sexuality

identity homosexuality sex

If you (or someone you love) experiences same-sex attraction, you’re not alone. God doesn’t hate you; He want... read more

Read Article


Emma found love and approval in her heavenly Father

Oct 31, 2019

identity salvation addiction fatherhood love sex

Emma Guthrie struggled in her identity when it came to men in her life, so God showed her what perfect love f... read more

Read Story


Top Resources on Idolatry


Use the resources below to understand some of the common idols in modern-day America. 1. How to know you... read more

Read Article


"Elephant in the Room" Group Leader Guide: Week 4

idolatry elephant in the room group guides

In week 4 of "Elephant in the Room," we heard from Dan Lian about the dangers of idolatry. Every culture has ... read more

Read Article



From Elephant in the Room

Sep 30, 2019

worship culture idolatry

Is God No. 1 in your life? That

Watch Sermon


The Third Option

From Elephant in the Room

Oct 7, 2019

identity racism love culture

Our society is more than divided than ever between "us" and "them." Whether it

Watch Sermon


As For Me

From Win at Home

Oct 20, 2019

family identity faith spiritual warfare

Our houses are more than a place to eat, sleep, spend time with people we love. Our homes are God’s vehicle t... read more

Watch Sermon

What's happening at NewSpring Church?

  • Need to Know: Weekly email to keep you informed about what's happening at NewSpring
  • Fuse News: Email for Fuse parents sent on the first Monday of the month
  • KidSpring Scoop: Email sent at the beginning of each series to give you the scoop on what's happening in KidSpring
  • Read My Bible: Daily devotional sent via text from 6-7am