Jesus says that distractions can keep our fruit from ripening: "The seed that falls among weeds stands for those who hear the word of God but the worries and the riches and the pleasures of life crowd in and choke them and their fruit never ripens." (Luke 8:14, Good News) If we want to be fruitful in ministry, then we need to get rid of the weeds in our lives and make room for what's important.
What limits your spiritual growth? What chokes your relationship with Jesus? What prevents you from being effective in ministry? Think about your schedule. Your weeds are the activities that crowd out time for prayer, Bible study, family time, and a healthy balance in your life.
Charles Garfield once wrote a book called Peak Performers. In it he wrote about his study of peak performers and he found that among their common characteristics was the ability to remain balanced. They kept their lives in balance between professional and personal, vocations and hobbies.
Jesus says the weeds that distract us tend to fall into three categories --
First, worry distracts us – When you worry, it keeps you from being fruitful. Worry is revealed by whatever stresses you out. It could be your bills, your health, your kids – whatever you fret about on a regular basis. Worry will keep you from serving God like you should because worry keeps you from growing in faith.
The Bible says, "Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you." (Psalm 55:22) The antidote to worry is trust. Give your worries to God
Second, greed distracts us - Greed can consume our lives and choke out our desire to live for God. I've met pastors who let their churches die because they were so busy traveling and speaking just to make more money. The Bible says we do ministry because we're eager to serve God, not for what we can get out of it. (1 Peter 5:2)
Third, 'pleasure of life' can distract us – We need to maintain a balance. God wants us to have times of rest, including a weekly Sabbath. But is there any chance you're spending too much time on hobbies? Or on pet projects that have become a hobby? Even overwork can become a 'pleasure of life' if you're doing it because it makes you feel good and gets you praise from others. What is your motive? Are you maintaining a balance between work and recreation? Ask your family and see what they have to say about how you spend your time.
I've found when I neglect my quiet time, my health, and the key relationships in my life, weeds start to grow. I start to get distracted. I need to return to balance.
Your ministry is too important to let yourself be distracted from the things God created you to do. God called you and he gifted you for ministry. He wants you to succeed. He will give you discernment this week as you determine what things may be distracting you from being as effective and fruitful as God intends for you to be.Get rid of distractions that keep your ministry from being fruitful