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Measuring Fruit

by HEIDI J. SMITH SEEING FRUIT Seeing & not seeing fruit Burn out Abide Obedience
Measuring Fruit
“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.”
John 15:7-8

Knocking on the wooden door, I silently prayed. A dog barked as the door opened and my friend invited me into her tidy kitchen. After removing my sandals, I sat at the table while we exchanged greetings and sipped tea.

I steered the conversation towards the Gospel, but she politely declined again. 

On the way home, my heart sank. Would my friend ever accept Jesus? How many years would it take?

Have you been discouraged from not seeing “fruit” in ministry? 

You pour your heart into serving the Lord, but there are no converts. You wonder what you are doing wrong and why your prayers remain unanswered.

God’s Word promises that if we remain in Him that we will bear fruit (John 15:5). 

But what if our measuring standard is incorrect? 

Most of us view success through numbers - salvations or baptisms, church attendance, supporters - and it can be. 

But fruit is also becoming more like Christ and displaying the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). It is evident by our obedience and faithfulness to the Lord regardless of our circumstances. 

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, preached to the Israelites for over 23 years, but they refused to repent (Jeremiah 25:3-4). The prophet Isaiah knew upfront that the people won’t listen to his message and served for 60 years (Isaiah 6:9-13)! 

Jeremiah’s confidence and stamina stemmed from trusting in the Lord and not himself. He knew God was in control and His timing and plan were perfect (Jeremiah 17:7-8). 

Isaiah focused on the Lord, holy and sovereign, and realized his proper position. A servant of the Lord to be used as God saw fit (Isaiah 6:1-8).

Just like the prophets, we need to trust God for His results and realize our proper position before God. As He molds us to become more like Him, may we be faithful where we are planted. 

So when you grow weary and ministry seems fruitless, keep going. Remember God is working, and reexamine your measuring stick. Are you expecting tangible numbers or refining character to become more like the Lord?

Closing Prayer
Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege to serve you. Thank you for the promise that remaining in You produces fruit. Sometimes we expect tangible results when you are working behind the scenes and refining our character. Help us to trust you during the dry seasons and realize our proper position before you. Help us to be faithful and obedient so that you are glorified. Give us the strength and perseverance to keep going. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Book: Green Leaf in Drought by Isobel Miller Kuhn This book is about a cross-cultural family that planned to share the Gospel with the Chinese people, but their plans flew out the window. They were under house arrest for over two years. Their ministry didn’t display numbers but a testimony that glorified God.
Book: Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungle This book is about a global worker who was imprisoned during the war and her faithful testimony.
Song: Worthy is the Lamb by Darlene Zschech This song helps us keep our focus on the Lord.
Question for Reflection

When have you been discouraged in ministry from not seeing fruit?

Heidi J. Smith
March 14, 2023

I grow discouraged when I share the gospel with my friends and they refuse Christ. I think that if I say the right things or pray enough then they will become Christians. But it isn’t up to me. God is the one who softens hearts and draws people to him. My job is to be faithful in sharing Jesus and living Christ before them by becoming more like Him.