Published on Aug 9th, 2017 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0

Unfruitful I am concerned, not worried, about a number of things today. I won’t bore you with the details of each of those things but I will say that since I am concerned about those things, they drive my day’s agenda. They help set my priorities for the day. For instance, (I guess I am going to bore you with one thing) my friend is struggling with an E. Coli infection. This has been going on for the better part of two weeks and I am concerned for him. He became ill on vacation and so is stuck in a hospital in Maine. Because I am concerned for him and his wife...I pray for them often throughout my day. My concern drives part of my actions for the day.

Today I was studying Titus 3:14. Paul urges Titus, as a pastor, to teach his people to take care of others who have urgent needs. Paul desires to see that his people are “devoted to good works”. The last part of the verse caught my attention. Paul writes, “and not be unfruitful”. How concerned am I today that I not being unfruitful? At the end of the day, do I look back and evaluate how fruitful I was for the kingdom of God?

Now we have to be careful here. We are called to be faithful in service to God and others and God produces the fruit. We cannot manufacture spiritual fruit. It is a gift and grace from God alone. But Paul, here in Titus, drops this little line as a motivating factor in helping those in urgent need. He encourages Titus, as a pastor, to make sure the people are bearing fruit by being devoted to doing good works. If Titus, as a pastor, is supposed to be concerned that his people are not being unfruitful, how much more should the people be concerned? Shouldn’t I be concerned today that I do not miss the opportunities that God gives me to be fruitful? Am I devoted to good works today?

I find it so interesting that Paul says earlier in the verse that we need to “learn” to devote ourselves to good works. This is not something that comes naturally. I have already rewritten the rest of this blog two times as I try to address the issues and concerns that automatically come to us when we begin to speak of these things. Why don’t we simplify this? Let’s pray together that God would teach us today how to devote ourselves to good works so that we are not unfruitful.

What struck me today, as I read Paul’s words to Titus, is that I was not concerned that my life be fruitful today. It was just not a word that I would have used. I was concerned to bring God glory today. I was concerned enough to pray for my friend. You could argue, probably very successfully, that both of those concerns that drove my actions would produce fruit. But my heart was really not concerned with bearing fruit and so Paul’s words help focus my heart. The Holy Spirit helped give my heart more precision. This helped me focus on making my day about others. I hope it will do the same for you.

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