Daily Riches: Hooked On Productivity (Jan Johnson, Evelyn Underhill and Eugene Peterson)

“We mostly spend [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing, we are kept in perpetual unrest.” Evelyn Underhill

“My jabbering prayers have been full of what I want, what I think I should have, and what I want God to do. …Instead of fussing, striving, and monitoring, we surrender ourselves to God over and over again. For those of us who are hooked on productivity, this approach is radical. …Letting go of the need to perform for God sets our hearts on things above and turns our backs on self-importance. Instead of trying to have an accomplishment-driven relationship with God, enjoying God’s presence points us toward:

  • resting instead of productivity,
  • being silent instead of talking,
  • listening instead of giving advice,
  • empowering others instead of preaching to them,
  • asking questions instead of knowing answers,
  • surrendering instead of gritting your teeth,
  • giving instead of consuming,
  • striving for brokenness instead of upward mobility, and
  • gearing down to simplicity instead of gearing up to empire building.” Jan Johnson

“In our religious striving, we are usually looking for something quite other than the God who has come looking for us.” Eugene Peterson

“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you “kept in perpetual unrest?” Are you “hooked on productivity?”
  • If so, what do these things say about your need to seem important to others? …to seem important to God? Could that be what you’re “usually looking for?”
  • The Scripture reminds us that God does not require or want our anxious striving. The list above spells out what a relaxed, trusting life might look like. Look at that list again. Is God speaking to you about anything there?

Father, May I rest instead of striving.
walk instead of racing.
receive instead of grasping.
listen instead of speaking.
endure instead of quitting.
May I trust instead of worrying.
appreciate instead of griping.
forgive instead of blaming, and
above all, may I love.

For More: When The Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer by Jan Johnson


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

2 thoughts on “Daily Riches: Hooked On Productivity (Jan Johnson, Evelyn Underhill and Eugene Peterson)

  1. I love the ministry I’ve recently been fortunate to be part of, it’s called spiritual formation and is used for a brother or sister in Christ to come along side of another brother or sister who is struggling in their relationship to God. What I love about it is that I’m not there to tell the person what to do to get closer to God, I’m there as we meet together as an objectionable listener to how God may be calling this one into Relationship, or closer relationship with Him. “Being” in His presence more often, not trying to do more of what we think God might want us to do for His glory. Just focusing on experiencing more His Glory in our lives.


  2. Sounds great. I think too much of our usual understanding of ministry is telling others what to believe and do. Obviously, teaching usually plays a central part in Christianity – but perhaps not as big a part as we’ve given it. Anyway though, it seems what we should be doing is teaching others how to be present to God, how to attend to him, how to receive what he is doing and how to look to and wait upon him. We don’t often know what is best for the person, but God does, and they don’t need to learn to be dependent upon us – like the Israelites who told Moses to go and speak to God for them. They were fine with a second-hand relationship with God, and many today are no different – and you can’t blame them for most ministry styles pretty-much encourage that. If you can meet with someone and help them discern God’s leading and provide a check-and-balance system – then that’s a great approach. Thanks for sharing what’s happening with you and your ministry. It’s encouraging to hear. Bill


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