Fruitful Living, Part 1

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

Ephesians 5:8-10

I want to live a fruitful life. I want my life to matter, to make a difference in people's lives and in our world. I expect this is true for you, also. Though we can exhaust ourselves in our daily routines without thinking about why we do what we do, when we step back and catch our breath, we feel a deep desire for fruitfulness. We want our lives to count.

This should come as no surprise, given the fact that we were made for fruitful living. Remember God's first command to human beings: to "be fruitful" (Gen. 1:28). Jesus reinforced this purpose through his teaching. In John 15:8, for example, he said, "This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

How can we live fruitful lives, fulfilling our created purpose, not to mention the yearning of our hearts? In John 15, Jesus answers this question by emphasizing our connection to him. We bear fruit by "remaining" in him as branches "remain" in the vine (15:4-8). In Ephesians 5, we find a similar point made with different imagery. Here, we "are light in the Lord" and are to "live as children of light" (5:8). When we do, we will be fruitful. Why? Because "the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth" (5:9).

The phrase "fruit of the light" appears to be a mixed metaphor. Since when does light have fruit? I don't suppose that the Apostle Paul was an expert in agronomy. But, whether he knew it or not, the truth is that light is essential for a plant to bear fruit. If, for example, you plant a citrus tree, you should be sure it gets full sun if you want it to be bountifully fruitful. Similarly, if we want to live fruitfully, then we must let the light of Christ illuminate us.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Would you say that you are living fruitfully? Why or why not? What parts of your life are the most fruitful? What parts are the least fruitful? Can you see how the light of Christ in you is helping you to produce fruit?

PRAYER: Thank you, Gracious God, for choosing to shine upon, in me, and through me. Thank you for the way your light enables me, not only to reflect your light in the world, but also to make a genuine difference in the world.

Help me, I pray, to be so enlightened by you that my life is truly fruitful, bearing the choice fruit of goodness, righteousness, and truth. Amen.


Preventing Burnout

Research shows that those most vulnerable to occupational burnout are individuals who are highly motivated and strongly invested in their work. When work is an important source of finding meaning, frustrations that arise from unmet goals and expectations in the workplace can permeate all of life. This can lead to a general sense of exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced efficacy. In The High Calling series Preventing Burnout, we're talking about how faith can make a difference. We hope you find this conversation helpful and if so, will consider inviting others to join in the discussion by sharing these stories via email, Facebook, Twitter, or networks you are part of.

Featured image above by Photo Fiddler. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.