There was once an inventor who built an amazing machine. It was six feet high and five feet long and had a total of 5,626 parts (wheels, gears, shafts, chains, belts, etc.), to say nothing of all the nuts, bolts, and screws that held the parts in place. When the inventor plugged in the machine and started it up, it ran perfectly and onlookers could see many of the parts spinning and whirling. It was quite a sight.
Finally one onlooker asked, “What does the machine do?” The inventor smiled mischievously and proudly answered, “NOTHING. It’s just a bunch of parts I put together in my spare time for my own amusement. It doesn’t actually produce anything.”
Like that machine, our lives can hum, whiz, and whirl day after day without producing much for the cause of Christ. Oh, sure, we hold down our jobs. We pay the bills. We eat three meals a day. We sleep. We meet our family obligations. We read Facebook. We watch t.v. We play with our cell phones. But how much do our lives really produce for the cause of Christ?
The same question can be asked of our Christian realm. Sunday morning worship services? We got ’em. Sunday School classes? We got ’em. Prayer meetings? We got ’em. Bible studies? We got ’em. Committee meetings? We got ’em. Special singings? We got ’em. Vacation Bible Schools? We got ’em. Youth trips? We got ’em. Senior citizen trips? We got ’em. Women’s groups? We got ’em. Men’s groups? We got ’em. Youth groups? We got ’em. Christian books? We got ’em. Christian cruises? We got ’em. Christian internet sites? We got ’em. Christian blogs? We got ’em. And yet our world is still going to hell in a handbasket. How is that possible? It’s as if our Christian machinery produces next to nothing.
Jesus said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8, N.K.J.V.). Notice that Jesus isn’t just looking for Christians to bear some fruit. He is looking for us to bear MUCH fruit. The challenge, then, to each individual Christian is clear cut. We must strive to reach a state where we aren’t satisfied with simply watching all the wheels turn but instead seek to produce much fruit for Christ.
Will reaching this state require us to do some pruning? Yes. Will it require us to do away with the useless machinery and unproductive clutter that we call “activity”? Yes. Will it require us to show discernment concerning what to keep and what to eliminate? Yes. But will it all be worth it when we reach that place where we actually do more by doing less? Yes.
Even if we never get our churches streamlined for more effective service, and even if the majority of Christians never get streamlined, that doesn’t mean that you, Christian, can’t do it. That’s why I call upon you right now to take a long, hard look at your life and be honest about what you actually get done in terms of Christian fruit bearing. What you might find is that you have taken your eye off the ball. The main thing (fruit-bearing discipleship) is no longer your main thing. Life has subtly gotten you so busy that all Jesus is getting are your leftovers. If this is the case, you should pull out the pruning shears and start cutting off those branches that are keeping you from being all that you can be for Jesus. In doing this you’ll be building yourself a new machine, and it will be one that produces much fruit for the cause of Christ.