Created to Produce
Just as peace is not passive, productivity is not optional; we were created to produce. Adam and Eve were commissioned to be fruitful, to multiply, and to manage the life systems and resources of the earth. When they fell into sin, God did not rescind this commission from Adam and Eve, and therefore, from us. The result of sin was that the processes of productivity became work:
- Women would become mothers through pain.
- The earth would become fruitful by the sweat of the human brow.
The need to create and the drive to produce remain in the human heart, though the means of this productivity has become a thing of pain.
As necessary as productivity is to life, there is also a spiritual dimension to it. Just as we are called to be productive in material things, we are intended to produce spiritual fruit. “Bearing fruit” is the most common biblical image for personal productivity. Jesus introduced the vivid metaphor of the Vine and the branches. He said He was the Vine and we were the branches. In order to bear much fruit we must remain connected to Him, just a branches must have a functioning connection to the vine if they are to bear fruit. “Fruit” in this context means more than winning souls; it means producing what God made us to produce. Writers write. Teachers teach. Builders build. Designers design, and so on.
Facing this Week
You face this week of work with a deep desire to be productive and most likely, a pressing need to do well on the job.
- Job assessments are a measure of the worker’s effectiveness, his/her productivity.
- Fathers and mothers work hard to provide for their families by the value of their productivity.
- The mechanized, computerized fields the modern worker plows still depend on the willingness of the worker to sweat—to do the work!
- Visionaries bring new businesses into the world and the pangs of this kind of birth can last for years of 90 hour weeks before the business grows up and becomes profitable.
The good news is this: We were made to be productive!
The same Lord who saved us from sin and hell stands ready to empower us to produce in our daily lives. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells within us, to give us the wisdom, the creativity and the grace we need to succeed. When we begin to understand the theology of work as worship, we open ourselves to the continuing enablement of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of life.
More than an inborn need and a daily requirement, productivity is a spiritual responsibility. The scriptures have wonderful things to say about productivity:
- Each of us has a productive path to walk, one laid down for us by the Lord Himself long before the wondrous week of creation. (Eph 2:10)
- Being fruitful brings glory to God. (John 15:1-8)
- Each of us has been hand chosen and ordained by the Lord Jesus to bear much fruit and fruit that lasts. (John 10:15,16)
Hard work is still hard work.
Bringing new life into the world is still a thing of pain. Wringing a harvest from the earth still demands the sweat of the brow. Hard work is the order of the day for most of us Yet, the one who believes in Jesus is not alone in the delivery room, behind the plow, or at the office or workstation. Jesus holds us close in each new venture. He guides the plow and helps us pull the load as His Spirit gives us strength and wisdom, rest and refreshment as we work.
Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”…Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 3:17-19 NKJV
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life… In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
Lord Jesus, You are The True Vine and I am only a branch, but I am a branch that can bear much fruit. You have promised me this. As You said in John’s gospel, You have chosen me and ordained me that I should go and bear much fruit and that my fruit should remain. Without You I can do nothing but with You I can do much—great things! Extend Your Kingdom through the life I live each day. I want to tell Your story with my life and work. I want to share Your love with the whole world, starting with those I meet today. Thank You, Lord.
We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations
Words and Music: H. Ernest Nichol
1 We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy,
a story of peace and light,
a story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright,
and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light.
2 We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,
that shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
a song that shall conquer evil
and shatter the spear and sword,
and shatter the spear and sword.
3 We’ve a message to give to the nations,
that the Lord who reigneth above
has sent us His Son to save us,
and show us that God is love,
and show us that God is love.
4 We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
who the path of sorrow has trod,
that all of the world’s great peoples
may come to the truth of God,
may come to the truth of God.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved