Monday, February 8, 2010

God Gives the Increase

I was listening to a couple of people talk the other day about ministries and missionaries. One asked the other about "seeing fruit" in the lives of the people.

At first that seemed like a reasonable question. Then I began to ponder the idea. When the Apostle Paul talked to the Corinthians about ministry, he said, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." (1 Corinthians 3:6)

It was the Lord responsible for increase, His were the fruit.

Then I began to wonder, just how do you go about judging if you have true fruit? To count the number seems wrong, because you can fill a building with people and still have an empty room as far as a true relationship with the Lord is concerned. We have a friend who says, "God doesn't count the hearts, He measures the

A 2400 dpi scan of okra, Abelmoschus esculentus.Image via Wikipedia

weight of them."

But it is hard to judge another person's heart, isn't it? It is sort of like trying to decide what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. For years, I just assumed a tomato was a vegetable. After all, it goes in vegetable soup, doesn't it? But since it has seeds inside of itself, in botanical terms, it is a fruit. Okra, which I would have never thought of as a fruit, is a fruit. I understand that Rhubarb, which is considered by some (but never considered by me in any form) to be a fruit, is actually a vegetable. So even in the food we eat, we find it hard to tell what is what.

I think we would do well to leave the judgment part to the Lord. The Apostle Paul told the Philippians, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3). If we have a heart to see each one as "better than" ourselves, and to realize the Lord can teach us something through anyone, we will probably produce more fruit than if we spend time trying to count all the bananas and apples and oranges. Try as we might to give the increase, the harvest is His and we are only the laborers. In all our endeavors, let us have the heart that "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Col 3:23)

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