… isn’t the point of this post. But fruit, or rather fruitfullness, is.
I’ve been reading the Bible book of Titus this week (and may stick with it all month). If you’re not familiar with this little book, it’s a letter from the apostle Paul (the most prolific church planter that we know of) to a young preacher named Titus. In this short letter Paul gives instructions to Titus on how to set some churches in order–in other words, Titus was going to finish the job that Paul started. The last few verses of the book have just hit me up side the head like a sledgehammer:
Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. Titus 3:13-14
Paul instructs Titus to help to guys in their journey, making sure they lack nothing for their trip. And then Paul adds a powerful and woefully ignored extra tidbit: make sure Christians devote themselves to good works, meeting urgent (or, as another translation puts it, “pressing”) needs. If they do this, they won’t be unfruitful.
So why, for years, has much of the church in America been satisfied with (what one author I recently read called) passive discipleship? We’ve made it so easy for people to be disciples–we have classes, workshops, and processes to make sure people get through these classes and workshops. We tell them to read their Bibles, pray, and come to church.
Yet, Paul says that if we’re not dedicating ourselves to helping people and meeting pressing needs, we’re fruitless.
Yes, things like a daily time with God, reading the Bible, and hanging out with other Christians is important for discipleship. But what are we doing with what we learn and read about? It’s so cool to hear about a growing number of churches and Christians who are no longer satisfied with just learning about Jesus. They’re working on ways to be Jesus to each other and those outside the church. As we continue to work toward a sprouting church here in Greenville, that’s one thing I’m excited about–holistic discipleship that is practical, intentional, and impactful.
So are you fruitful, or fruitless?