As believers, our lives are supposed to bear fruit. This fruit will often take the form of our “good name” or our “good deeds” done to benefit others. When we demonstrate integrity and consistent behavior, our influence grows, and others take note. Just as we plant and grow crops to eat, the quantity, quality, and size of the fruit produced in our lives will be determined by the things we do.
Every farmer knows that a fruitful harvest is determined by the fertilizer, water, sunlight, climate, soil, and careful cultivation the land receives. Smart parents similarly know that their diligent care to mentor, correct, and encourage their children will determine the fruit produced in their children’s lives as they mature.
God is a partner to both farmers and parents and will supply everything they need to grow and produce fruit in its season. Both farmers and parents know that even with diligent effort a portion of the potential fruitfulness of their harvest rests outside their own hands. Weather’s elements affect the farmer’s harvest. Likewise, the company our children keep affects the fruitful harvest in their lives. That is why parents must remain diligent and proactive, just like the farmer, to make sure “bugs” don’t infest the crop and negatively impact the harvest of fruit in their children’s lives.
Jesus’ followers are expected to produce good fruit in heat and drought just as well as they do in good weather and plentiful rain. As children of our Father, we are His trees planted by living waters (see Psalm 1). Your Father expects you to be hearty and healthy so you can bring forth good fruit regardless of the situation.
Your friends, extended family, and the rest of the world may be oblivious to your difficult circumstances, yet the fruit your life yields will always be evident for all to see. People will critically evaluate your life to see if your values and what is advertised through your name’s reputation match the fruit you produce.
Even though some of these evaluations will be demanding, unrealistic, or even legalistic, if you don’t measure up to the values and faith you profess, then people will criticize you, discard you, and move on. God will not be as harsh with His judgments, as long as you remain connected to Him. He will work with you to help you produce fruit in every season and in every weather circumstance you may encounter.
Many people in the world will expect you to accomplish something before they will allow you to enjoy the satisfaction of achievement. They may even try to suppress or rob you of that satisfaction, all the while demanding that you accomplish more. Meanwhile, they will tell you that they are helping you through their criticism and demands, which they believe will keep you from pride and arrogance.
When you feel pressured by others’ demands, remember that God is the only one who valued you before you did a single thing. He is the one who rejoices over you and celebrates every incremental milestone of your progress.
Copyright © 2020 by Tom Lane