Encouraging Fruit

Sure, we are expected to grow in the Lord and bear fruit, but the more we stress the expectation, the more we turn it into a new law to follow, a new law by which to judge each other. So, if judging is not our job, what is?

In Luke 13, Jesus tells the story of a fig tree that has not borne fruit for the three years since it was planted. If it does not bear fruit, the owner can find a better use for the ground it is taking up. So, he tells the vinedresser to cut it down and plant something new. He is the rightful judge.

How does the gardner reply to the owner? He asks for permission to leave the fig tree one more year. Then, he can spend some extra tending care and fertilizer to give it the best chance possible to bear fruit.

Our job is not to sit back and evaluate the fruit of our fellow man. Sure, we see when others are not producing spiritual fruit, but our reaction should be to go to the Lord and ask him to delay judgement and to give us time to invest in our fellow man.

The Dong churches are fig trees placed under our prayerful intercession. Many of them have never produced fruit, whether that be signs of the fruit of the Spirit or bringing others to Christ. If we sit around and "evaluate" their progress, that would be like the gardner and owner sitting and chatting about the tree, but neither doing anything about the lack of fruit. Let's pray.

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