Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'” Luke 13:6-9 (NIV)
It is the desire of my heart to bear fruit for you. Where do you think that desire to bear fruit came from? It certainly did not originate with me. No, it did not. You chose and appointed me to bear fruit for you. Yes, I did. What kind of fruit do you want to bear for me? I want to bear fruit for you that will last. For much of life, I have used my time, talents, and resources on work that will not last. I was doing my own thing and not really relying on you to guide or empower my efforts. I have learned that apart from you, I can really accomplish nothing that will last. No, you cannot. But, can you clarify what you mean when you say you want fruit that will last. I’d be happy to. When I am in heaven with you, I want to be able to look back and say that I’m glad that I obeyed you and did this or that. I want to be able to look around heaven and see people that are there because of how you used me to reach out to them. So, you want your fruit to last for eternity? Yes, I do. You no longer want to waste your efforts on what will be of no lasting eternal value? No, I don’t. Those are very good desires and priorities.
Let’s talk about fruit a little more. Do you know that there are two different kinds of fruit? No, I don’t think that I do. Well it’s important that you do. What are these two types of fruit? Why is it so important that I understand that there are two kinds of fruit? The first fruit is the fruit of “being”. What does that mean? It is the fruit of becoming the person that I want you to be. I am tending to your life. I am giving you everything you need to grow and become who you are meant to be. When you say the “fruit of being”, is that like the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Yes, exactly. So you want me to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Yes, I do. Being the person I want you to be will make you able to bear the second kind of fruit. What’s that? That is the fruit that you most often think of. It is the fruit of “doing”. Is there a problem with focusing on this kind of fruit? Yes, there is. Can you tell me what that problem might be? I think I can. Go ahead then. If I’m so focused on “doing” something, I might end up doing the wrong thing with my own strength and not bearing any real, lasting fruit at all. Yes, that’s it. You want me to bear the fruit of being who you want me to become and doing what you want me to do at the same time. Yes, I do. Aren’t they really inseparable anyhow? Isn’t it impossible to bear the fruit of doing if I don’t have the fruit of being? I’m glad that you see this. Yes, these two fruits must go together if you want to bear fruit for me. Yes, Lord that’s exactly what I want. I can see that. Abide in me and you will bear an abundance of fruit that will last for all eternity. Yes Lord, I will.
Lord, it is my desire and joy to be used by you. Nourish, prepare and strengthen me so that I can bear an abundance of fruit for your kingdom and glory. Remove anything from my life that will hinder my growth and ability to be used by you to bear fruit for you. Amen
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