Monday, January 04, 2010


There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds. Let’s remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness.

From Henri J.M. Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey.


  1. There's that word "joy" again! I keep running into it everywhere.

    That is an interesting passage from Nouwen. He does like to juxtapose apparently similar concepts to reveal their inner disparity.

  2. I came here by way of Gabrielle at Contemplative Haven. This passage comparing "success" and "bearing fruit" made a particularly strong impression on me. A member of my immediate family is very down on herself because she sees herself as a "failure" based on a lack of what the world would call success. Your post said what I want to say better than I ever could and I shared it with her. So, thank you!