What Is Fruitfulness?

When you think about fruitfulness what comes to your mind?

Many times we think about what we do for God. We look at our talents and want to produce something for His kingdom and touch people’s lives. Martha had similar desire; Let’s look at Martha’s situation in the Bible.

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.” Luke 10:38-40

Many of us are like Martha. She thought ministry to Jesus was to go away and be busy in the kitchen and do work for the master. Nowadays, the kitchen is in the main part of the house, so if your guests are sitting in your family room or living room you could still converse with them or hear them while you’re doing your work.

In the old Middle East where I am from, that wasn’t the case. The kitchen wasn’t the main attraction, so generally the kitchen was to the back of the house or even on another level. It was just there for cooking purposes, and it was made very simply just for that purpose. The house I grew up in was a lot like that. My Mom would be at the back of the house cooking and cleaning while the rest of us were in the family room.  As a result if you were in the kitchen you were either by yourself or you had one of your daughters/ sisters helping you in the kitchen.

Martha thought she was doing the important work by taking care of Jesus’ physical needs, making a meal.  However, she felt left out because she couldn’t get much from Jesus’ conversation; she was too far to hear and enjoy His fellowship. This led to her resenting her sister who was sitting at Jesus’ feet.

Isn’t that true of us? We have a certain idea of what fruitfulness looks like and we work hard at it. We may even lose intimacy with Jesus in the name of serving Him. Then, we feel left out and unappreciated which causes us to lose our love, joy, peace and the rest of the fruit of the spirit!!!  When others aren’t doing as much as we do and they seem to be enjoying the Lord, it makes us feel worse. We want to holler at Jesus and bring attention to ourselves! We may even try to make the other person look bad because they haven’t done enough. We feel we are being fruitful and the other person isn’t doing anything. Well, what happened to us? How did we change? Are we really fruitful?

We don’t expect for a seed of an orange tree to produce fruit right away. That seed needs to be planted and nurtured for many years before we expect fruit from the tree. It takes a long time to expect fruitfulness. Why then do we expect fruitfulness from our lives right away? If we are walking with the Lord and listening and obeying Him, then we are bound to produce fruit on His timetable because the seed of life will bring forth fruit!!

It seems to me that developing the fruit of the spirit has much more profound effect in our fruitfulness than any task we do for the Lord. As part of the process of my spiritual growth, the fruit of the spirit will be developed if I respond correctly to the tests and circumstances that come my way!! If what I do doesn’t seem to be fruitful or appreciated, I can still rejoice in growing in the fruit of the spirit. If I’m tested by what I do and I taste bitterness in my mouth, then I wasn’t motivated by the right reasons.

Does this mean we don’t do anything until we develop the fruit of the spirit? Of course not. It is in “doing” that we get tested by the Lord in exposing the maturity of our fruit. Just don’t get discouraged. Keep going to the Lord. Knowing that He accepts you and loves you, but He will relentlessly be working on growing you and ripening your fruit!!!

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