I thought about Jesus’ words: “If you abide in me, and I abide in you, you will bear much fruit.” Jesus didn’t say: “Try to find a balance between abiding and fruit-bearing.” He didn’t say: “Work hard to produce much kingdom fruit, but try to find a way to make your life sustainable so that you don’t end up in a moral ditch.”
He said to aim at abiding. The way to being fruitful was precisely abiding; and abiding would never be fruit-less but always result in the creation of kingdom value.
John Ortberg penned these words and as I read them today, I wonder if he wrote them expressly for me. (We have met, after all. It was at a conference in 2009–I’m sure he remembers me well. Okay, okay…definitely not.)
I commend The Barnacles of Life to your perusal. It’s well worth your time if you are a minister of any kind–in the church, in the home, in the marketplace. In other words, if you are following Christ, you might find Dr. Ortberg’s exhortation an excellent reminder of how to be most effective in ministry.
As for me, I’m just pondering what life–ministry–would be if I truly gave up striving for “fruitful ministry” and instead focused my energy on abiding in Christ Jesus in the midst of whatever I am doing each day. It would take a lot of discipline. Need to break some old habits and thought patterns.
Might not Won’t be as easy as it sounds. In fact, it will take a lifetime (and then some!) to master. But maybe, just maybe, my soul will become far less cluttered, and my ministry far more fruitful.
Amen and amen!