Busy or Abiding

From “Open Up Your Heart,” by Jeff Syverson. Now available at Amazon.com.

May 26

Busy or Abiding?

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 120:1-7 | 2 Samuel 9:1-11:27 | John 15:1-27 |  Proverbs 16:1-3

Today’s Scripture Focus: John 15

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NIV

You were created to live a “fruitful” life. We all want that: to make a difference; to accomplish something important; to leave this life with a legacy of significance. But how do we get there? How do we live the “fruitful life”? How do we “bear much fruit”?

One thing is certain; it won’t come just from being busy. We are a society that prides itself on busy-ness. We talk about being busy all the time. And many of us are really busy. We have come to believe that to be “busy” is to be significant.

Jesus tells us that if we want to live fruitful lives, we must start by “abiding.” At its heart to abide is to “spend time with.” Abiding requires slowing down and spending time in the presence of the Father. Abiding requires slowing down long enough to abide in his word—to get our marching orders for the day. Abiding requires spending time meditating on scripture and enjoying time in the presence of God—times of abiding in his love.

Prayer, time spent in the Word of God, meditating on scripture, taking the time to bask in the love of God. These are the “tools” that enable us to slow down for a while and abide. They are the tools that enable us to “sharpen the saw” to become more productive and fruitful.

I love the story of the man who was sawing trees in the woods and was getting nowhere. Someone sees him working feverishly trying to cut through his first tree and encourages him to “sharpen the saw.” The first man’s reaction: “I’m too busy to sharpen the saw.”  Too often we are just the same, we are so busy trying to do important things, but we are not fruitful because we do not take time to sharpen the saw.

Slow down and abide in the presence of Jesus. There you will find joy. There you will find strength. There your priorities will be adjusted. There you will be sharpened to accomplish greater things so that you may bear much fruit.

Jesus, help me to slow down and find the time to abide. I am tempted to find significance in being busy. Remind me that without you—and without time spent with you—I cannot do a thing. But as I abide in you, I find strength to obey, I love, I see answers to prayer, I find joy, I bear fruit. Time spent with you changes me and enables me to become more like you. Thank you for the opportunity to abide in you today. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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