I'd like to share the words of Jonathan Edwards, writer of Charity and Its Fruits, by reinforcing that whilst love is the main principle in the heart of a real Christian, so labour of love is the main business in Christian life.
Most of the time when we look at the fruit of the Spirit we rightly think in terms of our character. Who we are is as important as what we do. As such if we were to measure 'success' or 'effectiveness' then we must recognise that character, rather than strategies, techniques or even achievement must form part of the basis for a true evaluation of the Christian.
That said, character always manifests itself in action. The inside is seen on the outside. Jesus reminds us:
By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them. (Matthew 7:16-18)
Being productive is about doing good, and good for others –creatively, competently and abundantly. This is actually the meaning of 'kindness'.
Maybe you think of kindness simply as being ‘nice’. Jonathan Edwards points out, that to be kind doesn't simply mean to be nice. Rather it means to be free and liberal (generous) in doing good. Hence when the Apostle Paul declares that ‘love is kind,’ (1 Cor 13:4) he means, as Edwards summarises, that love “will dispose us freely to do good to others.”
May God make us productive in his service, bearing his fruit in all we do, for his glory and the eternal benefit of others.
Andrew Ford Director
& Mission Development