How free are we to enjoy the fruits of our labor?

by | Jul 6, 2023

Jordan Raynor is an entrepreneur and national best-selling author who leads a growing community of Christians following God’s call to create culture. In addition to his writing, Jordan serves as the Executive Chairman of Threshold 360, a venture-backed tech startup which Jordan previously ran as CEO following a string of successful ventures of his own.

Jordan has twice been selected as a Google Fellow and served in The White House under President George W. Bush. He’s spoken at our Workmatters Conference and in our Workmatters Institute classes and we are proud to be part of his journey as a leading voice in the faith and work movement!

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

Growing up, we had a tree in my yard that would produce delicious tangerines each year. Do you know what I never saw that tree do? Hoard the fruit for itself. Why? Because that’s not the purpose of a fruit tree. A fruit tree exists to share its fruit with others.

I think that’s part of what the Psalmist had in mind in today’s passage. The Psalter opens by describing “one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord” and says that whatever that person does “prospers.” Who is that prosperity for? Primarily for others—just like “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit.”

Is it wrong to enjoy the fruit of our labor? Absolutely not! All analogies break down at some point, and the fruit tree is no exception. A fruit tree physically can’t partake of its own fruit. We can, and Scripture encourages us to do so! In Ecclesiastes 5:19, Solomon says that “God gives…wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them.”

But based on the balance of Scripture, it seems clear to me that the primary purpose of our “wealth and possessions” is to bless others. In 2 Corinthians 9, the Apostle Paul says this: “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (see 2 Corinthians 9:8, 11).

You see it, right? We are enriched primarily “so that” we will “abound in every good work,” including the work of being “generous on every occasion.”

Has your work given you more than you need today? If so, enjoy some of the fruits of your labor as an act of worship to the giver of those good gifts. But don’t forget the picture from today’s Psalm. Primarily, you’re called to be a fruit tree that freely shares its fruit with others. So share generously today!

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Jordan Raynor

Jordan Raynor helps Christians respond to the radical, biblical truth that their work matters for eternity. He does this through his bestselling books, podcast, and weekly devotional—content that has served millions of Christ-followers in every country on earth. In addition to his writing, Jordan serves as the Executive Chairman of Threshold 360. A sixth-generation Floridian, Jordan lives in Tampa with his wife and their three young daughters.