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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Frantic Or Fruitful?

Updated: May 30, 2023

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. - John 15:16 (ESV)

Here’s a question. Is your life frantic or fruitful?

Several pastors and leaders that I meet with have questioned the impact their leadership has. This introspection is not uncommon. I believe most of us desire to leave a positive imprint on the lives of others but often question our activities.

Is my activity producing healthy fruit?

Are my activities moving others toward wholeness? Are my efforts producing lasting fruit in the lives of others? As a parent, am I modeling ethical values that my children will cherish? As a business leader, do my employees recognize they are more valuable than profits?

“Fruit-bearing” requires discipline to remember that purpose is more critical than busyness. Staying focused on the relevant issues guides our activities. Henri Nouwen notes:

Many priests and ministers today increasingly perceive themselves as having very little impact. They are very busy, but they do not see much change. It seems that their efforts are fruitless.[1]

Jesus reinforces that activity must be the fruit of purpose, not create it. Jesus recognized he could do nothing on his own accord. He only did what his Father did (John 5:19). Jesus was aware of God’s purpose because he regularly spent time with the Father.

The Lord was active, not hurried. His activities were in alignment with God’s purpose. Even amid his actions, Jesus demonstrated his need to take a break from “doing,” so he could be with the Father to realign himself with God’s purpose. He regularly distanced himself from the crowd’s demands to go into the wilderness to be with his Father (Mark 6:31).

Whether you’re a pastor, priest, business executive, parent, or student, a busy life does not guarantee fruitfulness. Our “doing” cannot produce fruit if it is not an activity that flows from purpose.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5

Jesus reminds us that he chose and appointed us to bear abiding fruit. He’s not impressed with our activities nearly as much as the fruit we bear.

  • Is my busyness distracting me from my purpose?

  • Is busyness a convenient excuse to keep me from staying connected to Jesus — the source of life?

  • Are my activities producing fruit? If not, why?


[1] Henri J. M. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1989), pp. 31, 33.


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