Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Are you fruitful? Yes, you are! (Because you're receptive)

Monthly theme: Receptivity

Reading time: two minutes.

In March, trees look different in the north and the south. Minnesota fruit trees appear to be lifeless (they’re not!) and Arizona fruit trees are dropping golden nuggets of harvest everywhere.

You’re like that. You have seasons of harvest and also seasons of “Where’s the fruit?”

Don’t be discouraged. You’re a tree planted by water that brings forth fruit in season, in every season, because you drink deeply of the fruit producing Word of God.

There are times for fruitful trees to lie quietly in the winter season. It doesn’t look like or feel like much is happening. These are times when the Word of God is doing it’s work, unnoticed, or as Jesus said, “While you sleep.” You’re receptive to God’s Word in your life so it might do it’s shaping and forming work in you, preparing for the harvest.

There are times for fruitful trees to blossom and produce unripe fruit that doesn’t seem like much. God is at work then, too.

And there are those joyous times of harvest and fruitfulness. Those are times for great celebration, indeed!

But there are also times for shedding leaves, and for pruning branches, times that are painful, but so necessary for growth.

In all these times, resting quietly or busting out in fruitfulness, we’re encouraged to be receptive to what God is doing in our lives; teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness. Becoming thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So we’re told to be “wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16) no matter the season. I’d translate that verse, “Continually appropriate for yourselves the opportunity of this pivotal moment.”

That is, be receptive.

I expect that you’re a lot like me, and that in some sense you’re experiencing all of the seasons in one way or another all of the time.

By the eyes of faith, you can see what the Spirit is producing as fruitful harvest in the kingdom of God through your humble acts of ministry.

There’s joy in that.

In other ways, you’re in a quiet season. God is teaching you. His Work is simmering in you as you meditate, reflect, pray, seek new insight and guidance by the Spirit. There’s joy in that.

And you’re likely planting seeds in the hearts of people you serve, not having any idea which seeds will bear fruit, but confident that God has sent you to scatter. There’s joy in that, too.

And in some ways you’re being fertilized and pruned. There’s even joy in the stinky, painful seasons of this journey of faith and service.

There’s joy in all of your seasons, because you’re receptive to God’s Word, and this is how he works.

And through every season, you’re making a big difference: fruitfulness in the kingdom.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Thanks for reading.