Jul 12, 2019

Productive vs. Fruitful

This morning during my quiet time, I felt weary. Work has been busy, schedule is full, time is flying by. All is well – I love my job, the scheduled activities are fun, and I am healthy. 

Yet I’m weary. 

As I wrote in my journal, I asked the Lord to please help me have a productive day, I can't do this day without You.


No, please help me have a fruitful day.

Then the pondering mind went to work. What is the difference anyway? Thinking out loud…

Productive means a tangible output. Produce something – something you can point to that resulted from your investment. Focus is on the results.

Fruitful means to bear fruit. It means that what you produce has value to nourish. I thought about Jesus’ words in John 15 (AMP):  

4 Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me.
5 I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.

Sobering words: “apart from Me you can do nothing.” I love what the Amplified translation adds: “..cut off from vital union with Me.” So while I can do a good job and earn my paycheck, which is productive and honors God, I also need to be fruitful with my day by actively staying connected to Jesus while I’m working so that what I “produce” overall has eternal value.

So what does a fruitful day look like?

Choosing to honor my boss by doing what I say I’ll do. Choosing to honor those I work with by being kind, respectful, and patient. Integrity all around. Choosing to love my husband and family no matter how they respond. Looking for opportunities to pray, share, and encourage whoever He brings my way. Most importantly, a fruitful day starts with choosing to spend time filling up in Jesus’ presence, and doing whatever it takes all through the day to stay close to Jesus. 

A fruitful day is one that is filled with Jesus from beginning to end no matter what you’re doing so that His purposes are accomplished.

As I finish writing this, I realize that a fruitful day sometimes produces nothing anyone can see, but always produces something inside us. When we’re weary, a fruitful day is one where we bask in His presence and let Him recharge us. Or it’s a day when we do something we enjoy just for the sake of doing that thing, and let the Lord’s joy fill us up. It’s about the connection – the relationship – not the activities.

And I haven't been taking the time I need to recharge, I've been too busy producing. Hence the weariness.

A fruitful day is always productive from God’s perspective; but a productive day is not always fruitful.

This is my prayer today for me and for you: Lord, help us have a fruitful day – whatever that looks like for us today. Help us choose well. Bring to our hearts and minds Your eternal perspective in the midst of the chaos this world throws at us. Help us to take time to recharge our bodies, souls, and spirits with what refreshes us. And help us lay down what does not bear fruit.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

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