:: CHALLENGE POINT ::
Sometimes we think that because we are Christians, we do not have to be concerned about productivity. On the contrary, our calling as Christians is the highest calling there is; and the idea of being productive is not the invention of capitalism, it is the mandate of Christ. He saves us in our fallen state and causes us to be fruitful. Jesus makes it clear that if He were to leave us to ourselves, we would be completely ineffective. We would produce nothing worthwhile.
Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser and every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." Here Jesus is emphasizing the relationship of us the believers to Him. We are to be fruitful, we are to be productive. What do you suppose is the kind of fruit that Jesus is concerned to see in our lives? Some believe that the only fruit Jesus is concerned about is His people coming to saving faith. In other words, "bearing fruit" means leading people to Christ. Others argue that the fruit is obedience to the law of God. Certainly both of these aspects are important, and both are involved in bearing fruit, but the central emphasis on bearing fruit in the New Testament has to do with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This is the fruit of a changed life, a change character, a character that is strengthened and nurtured by the source that is Christ Himself. Jesus went on to say that there can be complications if we try to grow fruit on our own. He said, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” Jesus introduces the word abide, which has to do with remaining close to Him. Jesus declared that our productivity, our fruitfulness, is directly linked to our staying close to Him. The closer we stay to Christ the more fruit we will bear. The more we wander out from the center and neglect the means of grace that He has given to us, the less fruit we will produce.
We are blessed with beautiful facilities and a wonderful family church. But there is one area in our church I believe we can bear more fruit. That area is exemplified by the word consistency in our commitment to Christ and His church. Will you make a renewed commitment to God and to your church to be faithful in staying close to God and in consistent attendance to His church? As a result, the new fruit you will bear will be pleasing to God.