Don’t Focus on the Fruit

by | Mar 1, 2016

If you are a follower of Christ then you are in the Kingdom of God and live by its values. Sometimes those values line up nicely with what our culture appreciates. And sometimes they’re counterintuitive. Abiding with God at work is like that.

A few weeks ago we called abiding with God at work the Faith and Work “secret sauce”. The logic is simple. If we remain in Jesus then we will bear fruit (John 15:5, Galatians 5:22-23).

But there was a point that many of us miss in our thinking and action on a daily basis: we can’t manufacture the fruit.

As part of the WorkMatters Institute Executive Speaker Series, a select group of young professionals got deeper teaching on this point from Harvest Group co-founder and senior partner Ross Cully. As Cully unpacked what he has learned and applied from John 15 about abiding with God at work, there were two points that were lightbulb moments across the room.

The two points are staple kingdom values, but run deeply counterintuitive to how we normally think and live. Yet if we are to abide with God and bear fruit then it is crucial that we understand and apply them on a daily basis.

  • Don’t focus first on the fruit. That’s our natural tendency. We are conditioned to be results-oriented. And while that has its place, we have to understand that fruit is what is being done, not what we’re doing. It’s a byproduct of walking with God, not a product of our own effort.
  • Don’t fall into the temptation to be self-sustaining. As a branch bears fruit, the natural gravity is to fall and break away from the vine – to try to root itself. But the branch cannot exist on its own in a productive and sustainable way. In our culture independence is rewarded. But walking with God requires the humility to admit that you are helpless without him.

We cannot realistically achieve these two points unless we are effectively abiding with God. We have to remember that abiding with God speaks to our relationship with him. Relationships are not check-lists or 10-step methods; they are complex, nuanced and messy.

But invest in the relationship. Get to know God through his word and prayer daily. Take the time to listen. There is nothing better that you can do for your personal leadership or for your ability to integrate your faith and work than to treat your relationship with God as a real, dynamic, living relationship.

We are grateful for partners and models like Ross Cully for sharing what he has learned about abiding with God at work. We’d love to know what you’re learning – leave a comment or send us a note to share your story.

Photo of Ben Kirksey

Ben Kirksey

Ben Kirksey is the Chief Operating Officer for Workmatters. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas (2006, Economics and Political Science), and alumnus of Teach for America. He realized a passion for integrating faith and work while at Northstar Partnering Group (now Field Agent™) and subsequently co-founded the Workmatters Institute in 2010.