Friday, July 19, 2019

A Christian Man Serves

As we begin to wrap up our series on revival and how Christian men play such a key role, we arrive at our final discussion point to unpack the concept that Christian men step up to serve.  It’s no secret that a man leads those around him through the actions he does (or doesn’t do). Whether good or bad, he influences others in a powerful way. In other words, he produces fruit. Have you ever been in a town where everyone knows about a huge fruit tree that gives a massive harvest of fruit every year? I recall visiting a small town and stopping by such a tree while in the area. While I was there, some young boys walked up, pulling wagons to load with the fresh fruit that was available for the taking. They may have been locals, and I may have been a visitor, but we both knew of the tree and we both stopped by to benefit from the abundance of fruit that it was providing.

Like a fruit-bearing tree, the fruit that a Christian man produces is there for the taking. The fruit-bearing tree doesn’t wait to begin growing fruit until someone walks by. A healthy tree grows fruit naturally. So that way, when someone walks by and is hungry, they simply take from the tree that has already prepared the fruit in advance of the person's arrival. And the tree does not have just one piece of fruit. The tree has an abundance of fruit. If there is only one piece of fruit on that tree, it would probably be bitter and it would probably hint at the tree's lack of health (You probably would not go to that tree a second time). Similarly, a spiritually healthy Christian man will naturally produce fruit without waiting for the spiritually hungry person to come along. And similarly, a Christian man who creates an abundance of fruit will have leftover fruit that is able to sow additional seeds into the ground and create new trees, thus multiplying the blessing that originates from him.

What does bearing fruit mean to you in your current season? When someone is in need to receive something from your “tree,” are you able to supply what they need? Otherwise, when someone really needs you in a dire situation, it might seem like a daunting thing for them to ask of you since it involves picking fruit from your tree that isn’t there. If we are caught without fruit on our tree, do we get frustrated, shut down, or do something that is rebellious to what is being asked of us (because we don’t like how it feels when we are exposed for not having fruit on our tree)? Are you placing yourself (a tree) in good enough soil to receive enough nutrients from the soil to help you produce bountiful fruit? In other words, are you placing yourself into a pattern that brings the Word of God, the church, and spiritual disciplines into your life on a daily basis? If you need to uproot yourself and plant yourself in soil that is more nutrient-rich, what would replanting yourself look like? What habits or sins would you shed from your daily lifestyle as a result of this?

Let us not forget the story of Matthew 21:18-22, where Jesus curses the fig tree. Perhaps that tree was not producing fruit for some time, however the interesting point of the story that I can’t shake is that Jesus came across the tree and did something with it. If Jesus did that to a tree in His human form when He was somewhat limited to the amount of trees He could see with His physical eyes, how much more would this story be applicable to us when He has the ability to see and monitor all trees in His heavenly form?

As a Christian man, we are called to be a fruit-bearing tree that serves those who are placed in our care. If our fruits are not harvested or given away freely, then it is left on our branches to fall, to become inedible, and to rot away on the ground within the vicinity of where we reside. Going out of our way and giving fruit to others may invoke a little bit of fear, because it means giving away something that we grew ourselves at the expense of resources that came from us. However, courage is not the absence of fear – it is moving forward with what is right, in spite of the fear. It’s the courage to step up and replant yourself into more fertile soil, regardless of how painful that process might be, for the purpose to be able to effectively provide for those that you are called to care for (locals and visitors alike).

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