Monday, July 30, 2012

Bearing fruit

In my back yard are two apple trees.  When they both bear, and the frosts and the bugs and the droughts and the diseases don't interfere, we have a lot of fruit to deal with.  And lately I've been pondering bearing fruit.  The question was posed by a friend: what might it mean in certain callings to bear fruit, and that got me to wondering what it means for me in my callings in life to bear fruit.

How do I bear fruit as a wife? I guess it is to remain faithful to my husband, to love and respect him, and to encourage him in the things of God.  But how do we measure that kind of fruit? I have a godly, faithful, loving husband, but I am convinced that it is more a gift of God's grace than it is anything I have done.  It's the same for my calling as a mother-- I have grown, responsible kids, with jobs and godly spouses, and raising the most adorable daughters to God's glory.  But that is not because of my flawed work with them as a mom. It is again, God's grace.  As a teacher, I try to work for God and not men, to call my students to excellence in their studies and to godliness in ther lives, and many have taken up that call.  But again, it wasn't because of me.  I was only doing what God called me to do, and He was busy using that in His bearing of fruit from those endeavors. And what of those that learned nothing at all? Can I claim them if I am not claiming the amazing young people who took what I taught them and lived it more consistently than I do?

The biggest calling i have, of course, is as a follower of Jesus.  He actually commands me to bear fruit.  But what could I do apart from what He has done? Nothing.

 So here, as the Preacher might say, is the end of the matter. Our fruit is not the point. It is all about the Lord. We are to be obedient, and that's what matters.  We are to ask the lord what His will is, and how we can best allow Him to bear fruit.  As Calvin sais:

“If we are not our own, but the Lord's, it is clear to what purpose all our deeds must be directed. We are not our own, therefore neither our reason nor our will should guide us in our thoughts and actions. We are not our own, therefore we should not seek what is only expedient to the flesh. We are not our own, therefore let us forget ourselves and our own interests in as far as possible.”

I'm sorry I don't have a source for that quote, but it does say it all.  And so, Gentle Reader, whatever the future holds for us, and whatever our calling may be, let us get about forgetting about ourselves as far as possible.  That seems like excellent and practical advice to me.

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