Saturday, July 26, 2014

Being Fruitful

The Lord reminded me this morning of a friend's house we visited a few days ago.  We went to spend a day with our dear friends before our upcoming 2 month trip to Mexico.  I always love to see her garden she has planted and see how it's doing.  She always manages to pack a lot of garden in a little space.  And, despite the critters that nibble away at her food, there is abundance.  So I began to ask what this was and that was, and then I noticed a pretty big space that lay open.  I assumed it was something that the seed didn't take, which happens, but it wasn't that at all.  She had a plant that started to come up that looked a lot like some kind of squash.  It wasn't one she planted, it had been dropped there from the neighbors garden. (Nothing more than a chain-link fence separate the gardens.)  She was excited that she was going to get squash.  If any of you have grown squash, you know it takes up a lot of space.  She cared for it, moved it to a larger spot so that it could really take off.  It got bigger and bigger.  Then the flowers began to come on.  The signal that the fruit of that plant is on the way.  The flowers came and went, and came again and died.  Finally, after realizing the plant was never going to produce the fruit, she pulled it out and threw it in the compost pile.  Slightly disappointed, but also wishing it hadn't taken up all that space in her garden.  She could have used that space to plant other things that would have produced fruit.

This reminded me of the time Jesus cursed the fig tree.  There was no fruit that was being produced, he cursed it, and it died.  How many times, if we are honest, have we not been producing the fruit we should be producing?  The Lord posed some hard questions to me this morning.  Have I been producing fruit, or just the idea of fruit on the way, the flowers? Do we only get as far as the promise of fruit, but it never comes? Are we taking up space, and taking away space from those that will be producing fruit?  

It's not easy to take the time to look, I mean REALLY look, in our hearts and pose the hard questions.  Force our flesh to be challenged.  See beyond our pride.  Have a kingdom perspective. 

I'm not saying we all need to be yanked out of the ground if we are not producing fruit in our lives, but instead, make the changes so that there is fruit, and in abundance.  We don't want to be like the "squash" plant.  Taking up space, giving the appearance of fruit but never delivering.  I have been around people like that and situations like that.  The time that is invested feels almost wasted.  I am grateful that God continues to tend the garden of our lives.  When we allow Him to prune, through the pain, producing more fruit.

So the questions I have been confronted with today will be the same I challenge you with:

What areas of my life have not been producing the fruit that it needs to be producing?

Am I in the place where God wants me to produce, or taking the place of others that need to be there?

The fruit I am producing, is it after the Spirit or the flesh? (Everything we do produces fruit.)

And don't forget, when the Vinedresser brings the pruning sheers it's a good thing.  He will only prune where He sees fruit, that it may produce even more!!! 


Thursday, July 3, 2014


I read this passage, Zechariah 4:10, the other day and it really struck me.  It says, "For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth."

Who hath despised the day of small things? I think that is a question we can all answer honestly. We all have.  At least I know I can emphatically say "YES".  It feels so little at times, the small beginnings, the menial tasks, the basics.  But what is it that lays the foundation, if it's not the small things?

It made me think of this gardening season.  Here in Wisconsin, planting started much later that what I am used to, but it finally came late May/early June.  There is a joy when you plant a seed into that dark, rich soil. Water it. Care for it. Then one day you begin to see a sprout of green pushing through the soil.  I don't know about you but I act a bit silly.  There is such excitement over the fact that the seed I planted germinated, took hold, then began to produce and be what it was created to be.  Then the ultimate joy in partaking of the fruit.

It made me question a few more things.  Why do we despise the small beginnings? The tasks that we think no one sees or the thanks we never get (and "think" we deserve).  What do you think is really going on behind the scenes?

Immediately the Lord showed me that there is great rejoicing in our dying in the soil, germination, rooting and our sprouting.  Just as we rejoice over seeing that first sprout from the ground, knowing that there is life coming forth and we will soon enjoy the fruits of our labors; so is our Heavenly Father rejoicing over our "sprouting", our small beginnings.  He is seeing that there is fruit that will soon be produced from our lives.  We have died to ourselves, surrendered to His perfect process, care and tending to what He has already placed within us.

I like how it's put in Job 8:7 "Though thy beginning was small, yet they latter end should greatly increase."  The increase is His, and what a joy to be part of that increase.  The small things and the small beginnings are part of it.  We often times want to grow quick and strong, but that's difficult.  To handle the weight of the fruit that is produced you must have a strong stem, branches and roots.  It takes time, care and patience.  The willingness to submit and move at the pace that the Lord has given for each of us will bring much fruit and blessing in our lives and the lives of others.  

I'm grateful for the small things, the small beginnings, the pruning of the Lord.  Rejoice in the time the Lord has taken to care for you; to see that the fruitfulness of your life be full!!