Ferre Fructum = Indicator #3
Ferre Fructum = Bear Fruit in Latin
PART FOUR OF SIX
Indicator #3 – Am I looking for opportunities to lead people to Jesus?
I want to share a story that happened to my good friend and favorite preacher Jerry Vineyard. I have heard him tell it many times and it is very powerful. During college, Jerry had a job at a hometown fruit stand. I guess he did all the things you do to run a fruit stand; work the register, look for bad fruit, and organize the stock of fresh new fruit. The owner was a local man that had owned the stand for a few years. Jerry graduated college and started coaching junior high football. Then followed marriage to his lovely bride Joley. Then followed the birth of their beautiful baby girl Olivia. Around the same time, Jerry answered his call to ministry and started working as a Youth Minister at a nearby church. During Christmas break, Jerry was looking to earn a little extra cash for Christmas and approached his old boss at the fruit stand for a seasonal job. The boss hired him back. One day, the boss started asking Jerry questions about Jesus. He was not a believer, knew Jerry was in ministry now, and was curious about just who this Jesus was. In Jerry’s own words, “I blew him off.” For whatever reason Jerry was not in the mood to share his faith this day. I think we’ve all been there. He finished up his seasonal job and went back to coaching. A few months later, Jerry got a call that his old boss had a massive heart attack while mowing the grass and died immediately.
I know Jerry still beats himself up to this day about the time he had an opportunity to share the gospel with his boss. Yes, he mourns that opportunity, but he made a massive change. My friend is now one of the greatest evangelists I know, and this experience has become part of his testimony. Not only did he learn from it, but we can learn from it as well.
We must always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). We are to be ready to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). I can tell you from much observation of my good friend and favorite preacher: there is no one more prepared for any opportunity that comes his way. I give God glory for using that painful story in Jerry’s life and using it for much good. Many people know Jesus because of Jerry Vineyard. And my walk with Jesus would not be what it is right now without Jerry’s influence and encouragement in my life. I would not be writing this right now without him, no doubt.
James 5:19-20 says, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” Charles Spurgeon said, “Read the verse and you will see that it was that of a backslider from the visible church of God. The words, ‘If any of you,’ must refer to a professed Christian.”
So, not only are we to look for opportunities to share the hope we have with the unbeliever, we are to recognize when a believing brother is backsliding. We are to confront them in love with God’s word and bring them back from their wandering. James recognized that there were many hearers of the word who were not doers of the word. We must be both.
Indicator #3: Am I looking for opportunities to lead people to Jesus? Am I bearing fruit in this way? Am I looking for opportunities to help a backsliding brother? Am I looking for opportunities to share my faith with the outside world?
Just for today, meditate on these questions and answer them honestly for yourself.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Five….