Bearing Fruit – Indicator #2

Ferre Fructum = Indicator #2

Ferre Fructum = Bear Fruit in Latin

fer•re frūctum

PART THREE OF SIX

Indicator #2 – Am I using my gifts and looking to do good everywhere I go?

Several years ago I was driving to church one Wednesday evening. As I was driving by, I saw a man standing on the side of the road with his hood up and jumper cables in his hands. You could tell he needed help and was just waiting for someone to stop. My first thought was, “Man, if I stop, I am going to be late for church.” Then I realized how silly that sounded; here was a man in my path in need and my main concern was getting to church on time? I turned my car around and stopped. The gentleman was a Hurricane Katrina refugee from New Orleans and only had been in the area a short time. He had been on the side of the road for almost twenty minutes just waiting for someone to stop. And this was a busy area of town with high traffic. We got his truck started and I asked him if he had a church home; did he go to church anywhere? He did not so I invited him to the church I was attending at the time. He asked me if I would follow him home and give his wife directions to the church, as he was unfamiliar with the area. I agreed. I remember thinking, “Wow, this could be a set-up. I am following a stranger home. This might not be too smart.” But I knew I had to go. We got to his apartment and I met his wife, invited her to church, and then was able to talk to my new friend for about an hour. I heard his story and was able to share the gospel with him. I did not make it to church at all that Wednesday, but Sunday there was a new family visiting, sitting in the pew next to me.

We are supposed to use our gifts and look to do good everywhere we go. Most of you that know me know that I am a terrible handyman. If I try to fix something, the problem is usually worse than when I started. And I would not begin to know how to fix anything on an automobile. But, I imagine I have jumped more dead batteries than the majority of people reading. You see, I worked at Buckalew Chevrolet for four years during college as a porter, and have used jumper cables a hundred times easy.

However, how many times have I missed opportunities because I was going through life with blinders on? How many people in need by the side of the road have I passed up? I shudder to think! Most of us are racing through life at a hundred miles an hour. The question for today is: Am I using my gifts and looking to do good everywhere we go? Looking is the key. We have to be a watchman for opportunities God puts before us.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). David Guzik said, “God wanted them (His people) to do good in their communities and be a blessing to their Babylonian neighbors. Ultimately, God caused them to be in Babylon, and they should be a blessing where they were set.” In the same way, God placed us where we are living. We are to seek the welfare of the community, pray to the Lord on its behalf, and seek to do good there. We are to be a blessing where we are.

I remember hearing or reading (I cannot remember where) a story years ago that stuck with me. A family, we will call them the Johnsons, moved to a new state and bought a new house. As they were getting settled, Mr. Johnson saw his next door neighbor and flagged him down. After introducing himself, Mr. Johnson asked his new neighbor, “What are the people like around here?” The new neighbor asked, “Well, what were they like where you moved from?” Before Mr. Johnson had a chance to answer, the new neighbor said, “I reckon they will be about the same here.” The wise neighbor understood that people are people, and Mr. Johnson’s attitude about his community was the most important thing. His answer to the question (“What were they like where you moved from?”) would be a reflection of his heart. We are to view our community with a soft heart and look to do the most good.

Not only that, but we are to use our gifts and seek to do good in our church body. Paul wrote, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:4-8).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The Church is one man; it is the Body of Christ. But it is also many, a fellowship of members. Since the Church is a body made up of many members, no separate member, such as hand or eye of foot, can transcend its own individuality.” We are Jesus to each other as the church through fellowship. We are Jesus to the world as we go out, as a body and individually, to fulfill the Great Commission.

Indicator #2: Am I using my gifts and looking to do good everywhere I go? Am I bearing fruit in this way? Am I using my gifts and looking to do good with my church family? Am I using my gifts and looking to do good in the world?

Just for today, meditate on these questions and answer them honestly for yourself.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Four….

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. Touchstone, 1995.

Guzik, David. enduringword.com

Photo credit: https://www.vipauto.com/connecting-jumper-cables/

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