… when considered in light of the gospel, to be productive is to be abundant in doing good for others, according to our gifts and abilities.What’s Best Next p. 71
Some things to note about this definition:
1) Abundant in doing good: The tenor of our lives should be about doing good, not just now and again. That certainly takes intentionality, but more importantly—if it’s in light of the gospel—it takes actually knowing what good is. What does God say good is? Does what I call good or do what others call good line up with what God calls good?
2) For others: This good we do is not for our own sakes, first and foremost. The underlying contentment that will enable this is the understanding that God will take care of doing good for me. It is my relationship with God that is ultimately good for me. This truth enables me to focus on others’ good.
3) According to our gifts and abilities: I can not do good for someone by fixing their car, even if they desperately need me to. Car repair is outside the scope of my abilities. But we must be careful that we don’t so narrowly define our gifts and abilities (or so limit them to only what we enjoy) in such a way that enables us to say no to where we could actually do good. But we also need to take care against feeling the responsibility so heavily that we never say no and thus cause more harm than good.