...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where's the Fruit?!?!

Where's the Beef?

Years ago, there was a Wendy's restaurant commercial where a grumpy old lady would lift the bun off the hamburger, take one look at the patty and yell, "Where's the beef?!?!"

I felt that way one morning as I took a look at my garden, only since I am growing tomato plants and not cows, instead of "Where's the beef?" I thought, "Where's the fruit?!?!"

I have have planted a garden for the first time in a long time and have waited very eagerly for some fresh produce. We have had a long, dry, summer- and when I say dry I mean the third worst drought in south Texas of all time. And the third-worst drought in Texas is saying something! It is dry around here.

See how green the garden is?
But where is the fruit?
But in spite of droughts and in spite of deer eating my plants to nubs, I have persevered and my plants have grown. And grown. And grown.

And they have bloomed.

But there is one problem.  There is very little fruit.

I have blossoms, but why no fruit?
Harvest so far? One cherry tomato (which was very delicious, but not exactly filling), and 4 Serrano peppers that I am trying to figure out what to do with. I have just a few tomatoes on the vine that I hope will someday ripen, but for the amount of plants I have, and the effort that has been put in, and the water that has been applied....it is just not very impressive.

As I was pondering this while watering the other day, it struck me. This is exactly what I never want my life to be- a garden of pretty, healthy plants that look like they are going to be very fruitful, but never exactly produces anything much of actual value.

And then I thought of the American church.  All the buildings, and programs, and mission trips, and activities, and meetings, and committees, and retreats, and..., and...., and....

We have so very, very much- but the question begs to be asked...where's the fruit?!?!

Where's the Fruit? 

If Jesus was serious (and I mean that rhetorically, because OF COURSE He was serious!) in Luke 12:48 when He said,
"to whomsoever much is given,
of him shall be much required"

then we- and by this I mean the whole American church, individually and collectively, could be in some serious trouble.

Why is there so little fruit in our personal lives, and why is there so little fruit in our churches?

  • Maybe it is because when we could have been reading the Word, we were reading Facebook.
  • Or maybe it is because when we could have been ministering to the poor, we were at the movies.
  • Or maybe it is because when we could have been praying, we were texting.
  • Or maybe it is because when we could have been involved in an in-depth Bible study, we were trying to find something to watch on one of our 500 TV channels.
  • Or maybe it is because when we could have given money to help rebuild a church for persecuted believers, we used that money for going out to eat instead.  
  • Or maybe it is because when we could have been reading a biography of some great man or woman of God and could have been inspired and moved, instead we were watching funny videos on youtube.
  • Or maybe it is because when we could have been evangelizing we were playing volleyball, or riding our skateboard, or going bowling, or water skiing, or shopping, or getting our nails done, or finding SOME WAY to entertain ourselves and not be bored.

We have more ways to distract ourselves to death than any generation before us.  

And it is sucking the life out of us.

It is sucking all the life that could pour through our veins and produce fruit. Instead all the nourishment and opportunity we receive just makes us look good while we produce NOTHING.

I am not talking about working to be saved. I am just saying if Jesus was serious when He said in Matthew 12:33, (and yes, I think He was serious this time too),
"for the tree is known by its fruit."
then what does that say about us? What are we producing? Is there enough fruit in our lives to even know who we are? And if we have no fruit, will the world even know Whose we are?

And if we have been given so much, and that means that much will be required, but we have produced so little-
and by produced so little, I mean outside of buildings and programs and debt and entertainment and television church....
when it is required of us, what will we say? What will be our excuse?

May I wake up.
May we wake up.
May we take Jesus and His word seriously.
And may we start producing fruit...while we still can.

PS- If you haven't read the book Radical by David Platt, I heartily endorse it. But I will add a caution that someone else stated the other day: if we read it, and by taking in the information think we are somehow doing something, then we are deluded. It isn't that we know that we can and should be radical that will make the church radically different. It is ONLY by being Radical!

Here is a link:

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