Kingdom Fruitfulness (Part I)

When you think about fruitfulness, what comes to mind? Often, we contemplate what we can do for God. We examine our talents, desiring to produce something for His kingdom and to touch people’s lives. Martha shared a similar desire but Jesus had to correct her.

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me. ” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42

Many of us resemble Martha in our approach to ministry. She believed that serving Jesus meant retreating to the kitchen to work diligently for her master. Nowadays, with kitchens often integrated into the main living space of a home, it’s possible to engage with guests even while attending to kitchen duties.

However, in the traditional Middle Eastern context where I came from, this wasn’t the case. Kitchens were typically situated away from the main living areas, often at the back of the house or on a different level. They were designed simply for cooking purposes. The house I grew up in followed this pattern; my mother would be in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning, while the rest of the family gathered in the family room. As a result, being in the kitchen meant being alone or may be having one of your daughters or sisters assisting you.

Martha believed she was fulfilling an important duty by attending to Jesus’ physical needs, preparing a meal. However, she felt excluded because she couldn’t participate in Jesus’ conversation; she was too far away to hear and enjoy His fellowship. This led her to resent her sister, who was sitting at Jesus’ feet.

Isn’t this a common experience for many of us? We have a particular notion of what fruitfulness entails, and we strive diligently toward it. In doing so, we may inadvertently sacrifice intimacy with Jesus under the guise of serving Him.

Consequently, we feel overlooked and unvalued, which can result in a loss of love, joy, peace, and the other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit. When we observe others seemingly enjoying the Lord while doing less than we are, it exacerbates our feelings of inadequacy. We may even feel compelled to cry out to Jesus or seek attention for ourselves. In our frustration, we might attempt to undermine the efforts of others, pointing out their perceived lack of contribution. But in doing so, what becomes of us? How have we changed? Are we truly bearing fruit?”

Well, the above passage shows us that Jesus wasn’t impressed with Martha’s attempt in ministry. Instead, he affirmed Mary’s attempt to be at His feet and not miss out on the opportunity of being with Him.

How do you define fruitfulness? Is it a lot of work to the point of missing out on relationships or competing in relationships?

I will continue with this subject in the next devotional.

Image by Hans from Pixabay


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