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Transforming the Task List

September 17, 2018

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

What got you out of bed this morning (besides the lure of a hot cup of coffee)? If you’re like me, you finally pulled yourself out of bed because you’ve got stuff to do. In fact, your obligations for the day will probably end up being itemized on a list.

My to-do list is unapologetically low-tech. Just a small pad of lined paper with the date on the top and a handwritten itemization of things I need to get done before I hit the sack at the end of the day. I know that a smartphone, a tablet, or even my trusted laptop could make my list look much trendier, but in the end a list is a list—a long series of items that keep my feet to the fire.

What’s troubling is that as I get to the bottom of one page of tasks, there’s often a note that says, “See next page.” And the scariest page is the one from yesterday that reminds me that I didn’t get it all done after all. It’s easy to begin to feel that life is only about “living for the list”! But if all of life is just about the stuff to do, it becomes little more than an accumulation of random, disconnected events in life. You climb in bed at the end of each day exhausted, thinking to yourself: There really has to be more to life than this.

The good news is that God has an overriding purpose for your life that encompasses everything on your list. When we put that purpose at the top of our priorities, even a day with an incomplete task list can be a smashingly significant, successful day. Are you ready to find out what it is?

God’s purpose for you is that you live to glorify Him. Not that you stop doing the list thing, but that everything on your list can be done to His glory. It’s just that simple. Glorifying God in all we do takes us beyond the routine of “just getting things done.” It fills the stuff on the list with a new sense of significance and in the end leaves us feeling that even the smallest task is significant. Getting the right degree, finding the right job, making lots of money, or landing a meaningful relationship is no longer the end game. Thankfully so, those kinds of pursuits left to themselves soon run out of gas. But getting a degree (or doing any of those things) so that you can use the degree to glorify God instead of yourself fills your life with a new and lasting sense of significance.

This is exactly what Paul had in mind when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.” There is nothing in your life that can’t be done to glorify God. Living to bring glory to Him is the all-consuming, driving, defining purpose that God has intended for our lives. Glorifying God simply means to do all we do in a way that communicates the attitudes and actions of God. It is filling life with His presence. When others see His mercy, justice, grace, love, tolerance, generosity, and humility in everything we do, they are seeing the glory of God through our lives. And tactfully giving Him the credit for all our accomplishments focuses the spotlight and applause on the right person.

Let’s face it—our lists are here to stay! Let’s make something of them. Do it all to show your world what God is like!


  • Look over your tasks and plans for the day ahead. What priorities are reflected in your list?
  • What are the dangers of being ruled by your task list? Have any of these dangers crept into your day-to-day activities?
  • Consider one of the more mundane items on the list. What are some ways God could use that task for His glory if submitted to Him?
  • Think of some practical ways you can submit your plans and lists to God each day. You can start right now. Take some time to ask the Lord to show you how to bring glory to Him in all your activities.