Book Review: Everyday Matters by Brandon D. Crowe

by Keifer Navey

It would be hard for me to count the number of books I’ve read on time management and productivity. If you visit your local bookstore and peruse the aisle covering this topic, I’ve likely read most of the offerings you’ll find on those shelves. However, most of them share a common theme: you’re working harder to benefit yourself, and you alone. Now, I said most of them because there are a few that teach leadership in such a way that benefits others, but they are few and far between.

Enter: Every Day Matters by Dr. Brandon Crowe, associate professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary. Crowe gives you the reasons and tools on how to build a productive life all to the glory of God. The idea may not be new, Paul himself offers a brief one-sentence exhortation to do everything to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), but in the endless rows of productivity books, this may be the only one that gives you a biblical understanding of productivity.

Every Day Matters: A Biblical Approach to Productivity

True productivity is less about getting things done; it is more concerned with stewarding priorities, time, and resources wisely and faithfully in a way that honors God. In Every Day Matters Brandon Crowe provides an accessible and biblical understanding of productivity filled with practical guidance and examples.

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Overview

Crowe does not waste time in this brief book. If you’re reading a book about productivity it probably means that your time is already limited and you’re already spinning more plates than you can handle. The ideas and practices in this book are helpful, but it’s short length makes it that much more helpful.

Broken down into three sections: perspectives, principles, and practices the book is easy to navigate and flows well from beginning to end. The first section examines wisdom literature and then follows with a chapter on the Apostle Paul. The second section on principles is where you’ll find the meat of the book. Brief chapters on priorities, goals, routines, and family are likely what people are looking for the most, but one of the most important chapters in this section on productivity is actually about rest. Finally, the third section addresses spiritual disciplines, organization, and how to avoid pitfalls. The Pitfall chapter is very brief but helpful in addressing over multitasking and getting bogged down by technology, and distracting by social media.

Key Points of the Book

  1. Mixing Digital and Physical Organization Tools: In chapter 11, Crowe argues for a combination of digital and physical tools to help you organize your day and stay consistent with routines. You might be surprised in this day and age where there are pages of productivity apps for your phone and tablets, but Crowe spends most of his time arguing for a physical pen and paper. He includes subsections on notebooks and daily calendars, see below for a quote on the topic.
  1. S.M.A.R.T.: In his chapter on goals and planning, the author a clear outline for how to set goals. Setting goals can be oversimplified by just writing them down on paper, but can also be over complicated by just writing them down on a piece of paper at random. Therefore, he gives the acronym S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-Bound. The fruit from learning how to properly set goals in my own life using this simple acronym has been immeasurable.
  1. Family Routines: A final key point in this book for me is the entire chapter devoted to family life. Sadly, families are usually the first casualty in the war for our time. For some, this may be one of the most important chapters in the book. Though it’s only 8 pages, he covers the biblical perspective on the family, serving in the family, and family routines which include family worship, church attendance, and playtime. The four action steps for this chapter sum it well: (1) plan one fun thing to do as a family each month, starting immediately. (2) Prioritize a consistent mealtime for the whole family to share and schedule it for each day of the week. (3) Also plan a consistent time for family worship and devotions. (4) Finally, find a biblical catechism to learn along with your children.

Powerful Quotes From the Book

  • “We must think about productivity biblically. Being productive from a biblical perspective does not mean seeking first our own interests. Biblical productivity must be guided by the two great commands: loving God and loving our neighbor (Matt 22:37-39)” (p.5).
  • You need to identify the overall purpose of your life, in accord with Scripture, and be sure that your daily actions line up with it. Some suggest finding an overall statement of purpose that derives from Scripture to guide each facet of our life. This may even be a scriptural quotation. This is a good idea, and one that I encourage you to consider” (p.43).
  • “Overworking is not a virtue, nor is it productive in the long run. You’re not wired to run on fumes. It is possible to get sufficient sleep and to get everything done that needs to be done. Getting sufficient rest and allowing for times of refreshment will greatly aid your effectiveness” (p.91).
  • “In addition to prayer, reading Scripture is essential to a healthy spiritual life, which means it is also essential to a centered, godly, and fruitful life” (p.104).
  • “When it comes to productivity, the hammer and nails- the basic, irreplaceable tools- are pen and paper. Even with all of the technology available today, few things are as effective as pen and paper. Pen and paper never run out batteries. They don’t lose a signal. They don’t take a long time to boot up. They’re not full of endless distractions if you push the wrong button. Using pen and paper is quick, easy, inexpensive, and enables you to keep focus and clarify your thinking like nothing else” (p.109).

Application in the Local Church

It’s easy to feel as if there are just not enough hours in the day. As a pastor you’re balancing home visitations, counseling sessions, elder meetings, hospital visits, mentoring other young pastors, and spending probably 15-30 hours a week doing sermon preparations on top of all of that. And you have a responsibility to prioritize your family and to make sure they don’t fall by the wayside.

If you feel like your life is spinning out of control this short book on productivity will be a great help to you. It won’t make doing what you have to do necessarily easier, but organizing and scheduling it in such a way with the right heart will make all the difference in the world.

Citation: Every Day Matters by Brandon D. Crowe. Lexham Press, 2020. 152 pages.

Interested in Planting a Biblical House Church?

If you’re interested in exploring, planting, or joining a biblical house church, this booklet will serve as a tool of clarity and confidence.

Keifer is the Founder and book reviewer for Nerdy Theologians—a digital resource dedicated to recommending the most edifying theological literature. He is also a husband, father, preacher, and elder mentee at his local church. When he’s not reading or writing, he’s playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

More by Keifer

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