What’s the Difference between Being Productive and Bearing Fruit?

One day, the Lord approached me. “I’d like you to play a role in my story,” He said.

“Wow, me? What can I do?” I said.

“I’ve picked you to glorify Me. I’ll guide your every step. Here,” He held out my worn leather Bible. “This contains everything you need to know to shine in your part.”

I opened it to John 15:8 (NASB) and read, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit.” That’s just what the Lord said He wanted. I’d better get busy.

So, I began my list of what I would do to bear fruit. I’ll write a Bible study and teach it to others. That will bear fruit.

I was busy, but I wasn’t making much progress. A small leak at my kitchen sink brought a month of interruptions. And that was just the beginning. I would soon have to pack up everything on the main level and move out for a week.

My dog got sick. That meant more visits to the vet and time spent in research on his condition. People were twenty minutes late for appointments. The phone kept interrupting my work. Each call required two more calls.

I got up early one morning and prepared a cup of carrot-beet juice to get me going. I heard a thud as I returned to the kitchen carrying my laptop. My youngest dog stood over the liquid mess. “Cosette!” Her brown eyes looked at me quizzically, and I read her thoughts. You drink this stuff? The floors needed mopping, but I hadn’t gotten up early on a Saturday to clean the floors.

This was not going like I’d hoped. I wanted to bear fruit. But, if bearing fruit meant being productive, I’d failed. I read the passage again: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5, NIV).

How could I have missed this? Fruitfulness comes from staying connected to Jesus, not from being busy for Him. Bearing fruit doesn’t depend on if or when my ideas are accomplished.

*          *          *

My fictional story is filled with fact. God didn’t show up and ask me to have a role in His story, and yet He has called you and me to play parts in His eternal narrative. We are called to glorify Him.

If you’re like me, you may have confused a sense of productivity with fruitfulness. It is easy to view time we’ve set aside as “our time.” Yet, making Christ Lord, includes accepting His lordship over our time. I can’t create time. I can only schedule it. Yet, my best plans don’t stop circumstances beyond my control from intruding. But, interruptions don’t have to thwart fruitfulness. My life glorifies Christ and bears fruit when I stay connected to Him.

I’m sure the fruit of the Spirit was included in the fruit Jesus mentioned in this passage. I would certainly welcome a bumper crop of this fruit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).

This week I didn’t accomplish my list. But, when I rested in Christ, I experienced peace and patience—not natural Debbie-traits. Maybe, just maybe, God accomplished His list for me.

Your opinion, please.

My Bible study is on entering God’s rest. It gives God’s perspective on ten areas that can cause us to fret. I need help with the title. Here are some options that have been considered. I’d love to have your thoughts.

  1. Your Invitation to Rest 
  2. Give Yourself a Break—Discovering God’s Rest when You Want to Fret
  3. Give Yourself a Break—Refresh Yourself with an Eternal Perspective
  4. For the Rest of Your Life—Seeing Life from God’s Perspective.
  5. Sometimes You Just Need to Wear Pajamas All Day—Discovering God’s Rest
  6. Other

To comment click here.


Debbie Wilson

Deborah W. Wilson

Mark your calendars. Ladies, my daughter Ginny will be leading a ten week summer Bible study that will begin on Tuesday, June 3rd. They meet from 7 – 9 in the evenings and will use my study, Little Women—Big God.

Email: LighthouseMinistries@mac.com

Photo by: Audrey

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  1. Laura S.

    I vote for either of the “give yourself a break” titles.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Laura, Thanks for your input.

  2. Renee Peebles

    For The Rest Of Your Life. I love that title
    Over the past few years he had been teaching me
    That “rest” isnt about s place of rest but about resting
    “In Christ”.

  3. Kim

    I really like #4!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Kim.

  4. Susan Sims

    This was a wonderful article. I’ve written a Bible study myself and in the process of another. I totally relate to your article. This was my prayer this morning: for God to remind me it’s all about His timing and not mine. I appreciate your words, as it reinforces what I felt this morning from my alone time with God.

    Would you mind if I post your blog, or better yet, post a link to your blog on my website? I would love others to read this, as well.


    • Debbie Wilson

      Susan, thank you. I’d love for you to share it. May God anoint your work!

  5. pat

    I like : Your Invitation to Rest- RSVP (RSVP means “Please respond”)

  6. Alan Gunn

    Entering God’s Rest Although Giants Are There
    Ref: book of Hebrews or Hebrews chapter 4

    • Debbie Wilson

      Fun and true. Thanks, Alan.

  7. Ann

    I like Sometimes “You Just Need to Wear Pajamas All Day—Discovering God’s Rest”. I’ve done this from time to time. I still “get things done”, but the pajamas just keep my attitude on resting and going slower. The pajamas also let “company” know that they should not stay very long. LOL!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I like working in my pjs too!

  8. Mary

    I really like “For the Rest of your Life”

  9. Debbie Wilson

    I appreciate the feedback. Thanks so much to each one for sharing your thoughts. Anybody else want to pipe in?

  10. Lon Miller

    How about:

    Rest Assured….It’s His to Give

    • Debbie Wilson

      Clever, thanks so much, Lon.

  11. Ann

    Beautiful Debbie and something I struggle with. I am a “doer” and love that feeling of checking things off my to-do list and feeling productive. But that’s very different from bearing fruit that lasts as you so beautifully explained. This line is one I will continue to ponder: “Fruitfulness comes from staying connected to Jesus, not from being busy for Him.” It’s perfect. And I just love #4 for the title – it just jumped out at me.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. I appreciate your feedback.

  12. Susan Alexander

    Hi Debbie,

    I like title #4. Since your other book has “Give Yourself a Break” in it, I think it might be confusing to buyers to have another book with those exact words. Loved your post and I am reading in “My Utmost for His Highest” the exact topic you covered on 4/14, which is that it is great to be productive for the Kingdom but we make our mark for His glory when we are walking daily in the Spirit.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Susan. To be clear, this is the same book. I’m considering changing the title before I do the final printing. Thanks for sharing. Loved the reminder that walking daily in the Spirit trumps productivity.

  13. Marilyn Couch

    Hey Debbie, if I were you, I’d keep the same title, “Give Yourself A Break”.
    It can be confusing when the same study, which has been distributed, gets
    a different title. Just my thought. M.C.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Marilyn.

  14. stephanie

    I like 1 and 4:) and I love the blog!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Stephanie.

  15. martina okafor

    Hi Debbie I actually think that you should keep the title Give yourself a break. I personally will vote for it even without knowing that you already gave the book a title. Wishing you all the best.

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