Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Apr. 30, 2008

Success or Fruitfulness? 
This devotional was written by Robin Dugall

Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit.   A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.   Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 7:17-19 (NASB)

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. Matthew 13:23

It may not occur to you when you see fruit growing on a tree or laying on a shelf at the local grocery store…you may not think that, from God’s perspective, He wants you to be more like a fruit tree than a successful corporation.  We might look at profit margins and stock portfolios to measure a person’s importance in the world.  We might be impressed with nice cars and big homes as measures that a person has “made it” in our culture.  How different that is from the picture that Jesus gives us as He speaks of the Kingdom of God.  Success isn’t the goal for a person who follows Jesus…fruitfulness is! 

Here are a couple of things to think about when it comes to fruitfulness:  first of all, every tree is supposed to bear fruit.  If it doesn’t, you would assume that something is wrong.  When God plants His Spirit within you, something should be happening.  Not only should we be able to see deeper devotion but also a growing influence on the relationships and circumstances that fill our lives.  That’s fruitfulness.  Secondly, every tree only bears so much fruit.  In other words, there isn’t an infinite amount of fruit that comes from a tree.  Every tree has its share of fruit for which it is responsible.  When God moves in a believer’s life, He calls us to bear fruit in the sphere of life that we find ourselves day in and day out.  We are not responsible to change the world…we ARE responsible for making a difference in the place in life where God places us. 

I love the following quote from Henri Nouwen on this topic, “We are called to be fruitful - not successful, not productive, not accomplished. Success comes from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness comes from vulnerability and the admission of our own weakness.”

We are not called by God to be successful…we are called to be fruitful!  Let’s pray today that God will bless us with the ability to bear MUCH fruit to the glory of our Lord!

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1. What is the goal of your life…fruitfulness or success?  Talk to the Lord about your goals in life and submit them to God.

2. How could Jesus help you to be more fruitful?  Do you need a certain amount of spiritual pruning?  Fertilizing?  Talk to God about your feelings.


Matthew 13:1-23, John 15:1-8, Galatians 5:22-23

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