“Hi, Branch. What are you doing there all alone? I have been looking for you,” said the vine to the branch.
“Oh, hello Vine. I’m sorry if I kept you looking,” the branch replied sounding a bit embarrassed. “Well, I was just trying to make some improvements on myself. I just want to bear more fruits just like the others.”
“So how is it going? How’s your progress so far?” Vine asked.
Branch answered, “Well, I think I’m doing okay. There are things that I’m getting better at. But I think there’s something wrong with me. Why can’t I bear more fruits just like the others? Why can’t I be more perfect like you?“
“Oh, I see,” Vine replied. “While I appreciate your desire to become more like me, what makes you think you can do it while being detached from me?”
“I’m so sorry,” the branch said. “I’m too ashamed to go near you because you’re too perfect. I feel like I need to take care of my messes and imperfections first so I can be worthy of being associated with you.”
“My dear Branch, you have always been a part of me and will always be no matter how imperfect you may be. Look at the other branches connected to me. Aren’t they still full of blemishes and flaws? But notice how fruitful they are even if they’re not perfect.”
“Oh, I didn’t notice that,” said the branch.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10 ESV)
You may be having a not so ideal week but that doesn’t stop you from being fruitful.
Just remember to cling to the vine.
Cheers to an imperfect yet productive week!
Photo by Sarah Shull on Unsplash
I failed in publishing my blog post on time this week.
Does this mean that I have become unproductive?
I’m not making any excuses for why I wasn’t able to publish a post last Tuesday. I simply failed in my weekly commitment and I take full responsibility for that. I know I can do better next time.
I know I was unproductive in the area of blogging this week but in my family, I wasn’t. I took care of our son, Zion at the hospital and I know I spent my time well with my family despite not being able to meet my blogging deadline.
Now I have time to write this blog post so I’m catching up on my weekly commitment. This may be a few days late but as they say, better late than never.
What I have learned this week is that you can still be productive despite your failures. Actually, the only way to fruitfulness is by failing. The only way to live a productive life is by dying to yourself.
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
JOHN 12:24 NIV
It is in our weakness that God is glorified. It is in our failure that God makes us fruitful.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
GALATIANS 2:20 NIV
God’s approach to productivity is counterintuitive. This is usually the way of the Kingdom. The way up is the way down. It’s an upside-down kingdom.
Jesus, although divine, lived as a hundred percent human here on earth. He did not rely on his superhuman strength as a divine being but instead relied on the strength of the Father living inside of him.
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
JOHN 5:19 NIV
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
JOHN 6:57 KJV
The only way to be fruitful is to live this life by the indwelling life of God in us. What we need is to be filled with God more, not more productivity strategies and tactics. And the way to be filled with the Spirit is to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature, our flesh.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
ROMANS 8:12-13 NASB
Here are some steps you can do right now to practice living in the Spirit. Don’t worry, this will only take around 10 minutes to practice:
- Call on the name of Jesus and ask for his help.
Admit that you can’t live this life without him. Say something like this: “I need you Jesus. I need your wisdom and guidance.” Do this for around 1 to 2 minutes.
- Ask God who to serve.
- Write in your journal or on your favorite notes app the following: “Who do you want me to serve today, God?”
- Listen to what God says and take note of the persons that come across your mind. Ask God and confirm with him whether that is the person you should serve today. List 1 to 3 names.
- Ask God how you can serve these people.
It may be as simple as praying for them or helping them with something.
Practice these steps at the start of each day and see how God enables you to become fruitful every day.
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash
I give up.
I simply couldn’t keep running at the same pace as this expert runner. I might as well do it without him and run at my comfortable pace.
The only problem is I don’t know the way to the finish line.
Life feels like this most of the time. You keep doing things your way and at your comfortable pace. But without the help of an expert, it’s impossible to finish complicated tasks.
On the other hand, it can get too tiring and burdensome trying to keep up with the pace of an expert. It’s impossible to follow every step of the expert without him slowing things down for your sake.
The good thing is, there is another way.
There is an expert who knows the way to the finish line but is humble and gentle at the same time. He slows things down for you so you can follow and he doesn’t leave you behind. He speeds things up at times but just enough to keep you challenged and make you grow.
Read Matthew 11:28-30 and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
How do you measure productivity?
I have one major task for today and that is to publish this blog post. Do I consider it a success once I publish this article? Does this make me productive?
Productivity is not measured by the number of tasks you have done or the number of projects you have accomplished. The best way to measure your productivity is by answering this question: “How well have I served today?”
I have learned that the best way to stay productive is not to obsess over my results. The fruits are not my focus. The branch bears fruit when it is connected to the vine. In the same way, I bear much fruit when I stay connected to Jesus.
My focus, therefore, is not to count my fruits but to stay connected to Jesus.
Jesus says in John 15 that we need to remain in his love. And we stay in his love when we keep his commands. And what is his command? Love each other as Jesus has loved us.
Therefore, we will remain in Jesus when we love one another as Christ loved us. And we give the most extraordinary kind of love when we lay down our life for a friend.
The key to productivity is to remain in Christ. And the way to remain in Christ is by loving one another to the point of giving your life for a friend.
Let me give you some questions to help you assess your fruitfulness:
- Who did you serve today?
- What kind of service did you do to that person?
- How much did it hurt you to serve that person?
I hope that these assessment questions will help you not just measure your success but keep your focus on serving and loving others as Christ did to you.
I have a challenge for you.
Can you think of a person who will benefit much from reading this blog post?
Why don’t you serve that person right now and forward this article to him?
If you did that then you’re on your way to greater productivity in life. Congratulations!
Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash
I almost missed my blog post release today.
I was too busy for the past few days that I didn’t have time to write my article. I needed time to rest after a hectic week.
May this be a reminder to you that you need rhythms of rest in your weekly schedule:
- Give yourself permission to rest
- Make time for one whole day of rest in your weekly schedule
- Enjoy your rest day and don’t be guilty about not doing any “productive” work that day
- Make sure you minimize exposure to social media and other distractions on your rest day
How do you spend your rest day?
Distractions like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are some of the greatest enemies of productivity. It’s easier to mindlessly scroll through Facebook than to finish your most important task for the day. It’s easier to laugh at those funny TikTok videos than to finish writing your article.
I have tried many different ways and strategies to minimize distractions on my mobile phone but none of them seemed to work for me. I want to share with you this app that helped me minimize my social media addiction. It’s called One Sec.
One Sec is a mobile phone app that helps you delay distracting apps and websites. Basically, it forces you to take a deep breath and helps you ask if you really want to open the potential time-wasting app (like TikTok or Facebook) before jumping in.
This is how it works according to its website: “One Sec works so great because it doesn’t forbid you to use apps and websites. It makes it more annoying. That way you’ll effortlessly change your habits.”
Here are 3 things One Sec has helped me with:
1. Fight against social media addiction.
By forcing me to pause for about 10 seconds before opening any social media app, it has helped me become more aware of my social media addiction. I didn’t realize I was mindlessly opening Facebook app on my phone until One Sec stopped me in my tracks.
2. Recover lost time from distractions.
This app has already helped me save 12.2 hours away from distractions in the last month I have been using it.
3. Establish a healthy relationship with social media.
By helping me become more mindful of my social media habits, I am now more purposeful in using social media apps. I no longer find myself opening Facebook automatically. I only use it now if I have a purpose.
You may want to try using the app for free so you can see it for yourself. Download it now and start redeeming lost time from distractions.
Wishing you a fruitful and successful week ahead!
And, oh, you’re welcome!