Spring is here at last in the South of England, and the fruit trees are beginning to bud. We hope there will be no more sharp frosts. The buds are the promise of fruit to come, and the mark of a good tree is the amount and quality of the fruit that grows on it in the year. An old tree that has borne much fruit in its life is highly valued, and its owner mourns when it dies away.
My aunt died recently at the age of 97, and at the thanksgiving service many people came to pay tribute to the fruit she had borne in 88 years of Christian life. They gave testimony to the quality of her life - the caring heart she showed to all, the faithful commitment to those she nursed in Africa whilst a missionary there, the deep concern for her family that she loved so much and above all to the deep prayerfulness of her walk with the Lord. She prayed regularly for everyone she knew, and those who weren’t believers were a special focus for her prayers.
Some people think the mark of a fruitful Christian is how many people you have evangelised or ‘led to the Lord’. I know we are to spread the Gospel with fervour and passion, but not every one of us has the gift of evangelism, although we can all witness to Jesus. I believe being fruitful is showing the character of Jesus in this world and that it’s a responsibility for us all. When people met with my Aunt, they met with Jesus in her, not just a lovely lady. When people meet with me I wonder how often they see Jesus in me, and how often they don’t!
Jesus tells us that the sign of discipleship is fruitfulness, and this is to the Father’s glory. I pray that people will remember me for my fruit, not just anything I did. And I don’t want to be discarded by the Lord as being a fruitless branch when I meet Him in glory. I want those buds of spring to turn into summer fruitfulness, lasting for the whole of my life.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the saints around us who are such wonderful ‘fruit trees’ for You. Thank You for their example and encouragement to us. Help us to nurture the fruit of Holy Spirit in our own lives, so that we may be Your witnesses and truly bring glory to You. Amen.
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