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"Where's the Fruit?"

by KATY BRINK SEEING FRUIT Expectations Hearing God & Understanding His Will Obedience Discouragement
"Where's the Fruit?"
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

We recently added a new member to the family – a four-legged member who is adorable, exasperating, fun, and exhausting all at the same time. Not unlike a toddler, puppies require almost constant supervision and consistent training and correction. Also not unlike parenting a toddler, you don’t always see the fruits of your training labors right away. The jumping or barking or trash-can diving continues. 

Ministry often resembles this. You work hard, trying to be faithful to the tasks and ministry God has given you to do, but you just don’t see much change or progress. Maybe you’re leading a Bible study and wonder why your once-vibrant group has dwindled. Maybe you’ve been speaking to an unbelieving friend about Jesus for some time but don’t see her interest growing. Perhaps you plan regular worldview discussion nights to foster gospel conversations but can’t get any of your friends to come. Life in ministry can be ripe for discouragement. I’m trying, Lord; where’s the fruit??

Being faithful in parenting (or in puppy training) is a good thing: if God grants us children, He calls us to raise them in a way that honors Him and points them to Him. Faithfulness in ministry also honors the Lord: we work hard as unto Him with the tasks He’s given us. But sometimes we get distracted by the lack of visible fruit and forget that God is working in ways that we cannot see and might never know. His agenda for our own hearts and the hearts of those around us falls above our comprehension and ability to perceive; in this way, God reminds us that He is God, that we are not, and that He is working all things according to His purposes. 

Far from being meaningless pawns in a chess game, our work in ministry (or in any sector) makes us ambassadors of Christ. We have the privilege of living out God’s call, of displaying and furthering God’s Kingdom in the world, by being faithful to the work He gives us and leaving the “results” of that work in His hands. He is the Master Gardener and will harvest the crop according to His time and plans.

Closing Prayer
Lord, I praise you for being the Master Gardener and confess that I often forget Who you are. Help me to be faithful to do the work you’ve given me and not to become distracted by obsessing over the results. Protect me from discouragement. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Article: You Can Do the Right Things in Ministry – and Still Fail by Chad Ashby This is a sobering yet beautiful article about a pastor wrestling with God’s plans in His life when, despite His faithfulness, God calls Him away from ministry.
Question for Reflection

Are you prone to discouragement in your ministry? If so, what helps bring you through those times?

Katy Brink
March 21, 2023

I don’t think I am particularly prone to deep discouragement, but I do tend to try to take God’s place and want to know all His plans for our life and ministry. I sometimes get overwhelmed with the uncertainty of what fruit there will actually be and have to go back to Scripture and remind myself that God is always working, even when I cannot see it, and that His biggest work might be in my own heart, making me to trust Him more.