Busyness and Fruitfulness
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
“How ya doing?”
A common question we all get asked. And, with increasing frequency, one that we all seem to answer in this way—“I’ve been so busy.” It’s not a hidden reality; life is busy. Our culture feeds and drives our frenetic pace of life. But busyness is not inherently bad or sinful. The Bible rebukes the lazy person and acknowledges that idleness can open our lives up to damaging and destructive influences. So, for some, adding a little busyness to their lives would do them good.
But there is a danger concerning busyness.
This danger presents itself when we confuse busyness for fruitfulness. The Bible calls us to be fruitful. Just as an apple tree produces apples, Christians are supposed to produce something with their lives. The Bible gives us a clear picture of what our lives should produce and look like. If those things aren’t happening in our lives, then we are not being fruitful—despite how busy we may be.
See, we can tend to think that our busyness is a sign of being fruitful. Attending various religious functions, scheduling meetings, constantly in conversation, going, and whatever you can add to the list. For the average Christian living in America during the 21st century, almost every evening is filled with an activity. Again, don’t get confused. That is not necessarily a negative. But we should examine our hearts and lives to make sure that our busyness is not serving as a distraction that prevents us from being fruitful.
What is Fruitfulness?
Fruitfulness is a rather large subject matter. But we should probably touch on some of the basics so we have a working understanding. Fruitfulness is about growth. Essentially, it is becoming like Jesus.
Are you growing as a Christian? Are you serving the Lord and serving others? And not only serving, but doing it with joy.
We could also consider fruitfulness to be impacting those around us. Are our spiritual lives impacting our families, neighbors, and those in close proximity relationships to us? Fruitfulness happens slowly, but it does (or should) happen. Our lives touch others as we grow in the grace, knowledge, and truth of our God.
Everyone’s pace is different. What could be considered busyness that hinders fruitfulness in one person, may be the exact amount of busy that produces fruitfulness in another. We are all different. It may take awhile, but you need to find your healthy pace of life. Outside of corporate worship (which should be a non-negotiable priority in every believers’ life), what should you attend? How many commitments and priorities outside of the church can/should you handle? Where are you sacrificing for God’s Kingdom? When and where are you being spiritually, emotionally, and physically refreshed? When and how does meaningful family time take place? Are you on the same page as your spouse (they may have a different pace than you)? These are not questions that you must answer now, but may help when considering what your pace should be.
Check your attitude. What is your attitude like most days? Is it irritable, impatient, and negative? This could be a sign that busyness is preventing fruitfulness in your life. If we are doing a whole host of religious actions, but with the wrong heart, we may be doing more harm than good.
Examine your time. Spend a night looking at your calendar and your schedule from a normal month. Does it reflect what is important to you (or what should be)? What are you sacrificing on a weekly basis? What fruit has come from those sacrifices and decisions? We may find some tough answers, but simply taking the time to reflect on our priorities can promote fruitfulness.
Fruitfulness starts from within. As we grow closer to Jesus, He changes our hearts, attitudes, thoughts, and motivations. Changes in those areas then begin to affect our decisions and actions. Fruitfulness will not come when we view the spiritual disciplines as boxes to complete and check-off; it won’t happen if our mindset towards corporate worship revolves solely around attending. Fruitfulness starts with hearing God’s voice and being changed by his Spirit. As our hearts are changed, we will bear God-glorifying fruit with our lives.
Busyness can be a ‘mask’ that is hiding deeper issues. Sometimes our busyness may be covering up issues that we don’t want (or know how) to deal with. We can have empty souls and be using busyness to distract ourselves from what is happening and what we are feeling. We can also find ourselves consumed by busyness because we like the recognition, attention, and applause that comes as a result of everything we are involved in. We can even strive to be busy so we appear more committed or spiritual than others. These issues direct us to the ‘why’ concerning our busyness. Why are we busy? What are our motivations and what are we hoping we achieve? Is it healthy?
It takes time. We all know that you don’t put a seed in the ground and expect mature fruit the next day—it takes time. We plant the seed, tend it, water it, and, if the conditions are right, it grows. It can actually take many years before a harvest of mature fruit is ready to be enjoyed. It’s almost like God is giving us a picture of what spiritual growth and fruitfulness will require—time. Making changes now may mean we have to wait until the future to experience the fruit that comes as a result of those changes.
Think About It
Life happens fast. We can get swept up by our routines and daily responsibilities and give little thought to what our life is producing. No one will achieve the perfect balance—we aren’t Jesus—but we should give deep thought and consideration concerning the fruitfulness of our lives. And that has everything to do with our normal, everyday routines. How we approach and live each day and week has more of an impact on our fruitfulness than what we may deem as the ‘big’ moments. If we make the right decisions at the big moments, but neglect to work for fruit in our everyday lives, it will not come. The good news is that Jesus promises to meet us with new mercy and grace each day. And that is exactly how often we need it.