Bearing Fruit or Bowing to an Idol

March 31, 2014

WSC 1 – “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Jesus describes what it takes to glorify God in John 15:8 (ESV):

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

As the New Year dawned, a friend from St. Louis posted something on his blog that challenged me. He coined a new term that described well an idol that I embrace – “productionism.” Productionism is “the belief that a man’s value comes from his ability to accomplish or produce something. In other words, a good man is productive every day.” It is a variation of perfectionism, but differs in that productionism focuses on getting things done, not necessarily getting things done perfectly.

At one level, being productive is not bad. Bearing fruit for God means that I produce something. The problem is that I tend to define my worth by what I produce rather than focusing on the One who produces through me. Jesus also said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (John 15:5, 9 ESV).

In my fight to produce, I am prone to taking my eyes off Jesus. Another friend preached a sermon recently in which he rightly stated that a minister’s job (and the words apply to all followers of Christ) is to point people to Christ. I am prone to focus on getting things done rather than pointing people to Christ. Rather than bearing fruit, I bow at the idol named “Productivity.” When displaying the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control could point a person to Jesus, I often choose to find the easiest path to get the task done. Instead of bearing fruit, I complete a task. The problem is that so many of the tasks I complete in the name of productivity all appear to be done in the name of ministry. In other words, my idol is well camouflaged.

As you get things done today, ask yourself, “Am I bearing fruit or merely being productive?” Fruit comes from abiding in Christ. Yes, you get things done – but you work by the power of his Spirit within you. You reflect his character and priorities (which includes considering others as more significant than yourself – Php 2:3) as you do what he commands.

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