I preached in all five services at my home church this past weekend. The title of my message was "Kingdom Fruit." In my message, I discussed the need for each citizen of God's kingdom to bear fruit as Jesus warned in Matthew 21:43: "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit." You can access my message on my mobile app under the folder "Preached Messages." In this Memo, I want to make some additional comments on the issue of fruit.
THE FRUIT PROCESS
I reflected this past week on what it takes for actual, edible fruit to be produced. Here are some thoughts on the matter:
- Fruit is fragile and conditions must be right for it to come forth - climate, soil, free from frost, not too much rain (or too little). The same is true for spiritual fruit.
- Fruit starts with a blossom, which is pretty and fragrant, but is only the beginning. There are many believers who blossom and have great potential to bear fruit, but that potential must be nurtured.
- If fruit is eaten before it is ripe, it can be toxic if harvested prematurely. The same is true for spiritual fruit. It requires maturity for it to taste the best.
- Fruit is meant for two things: to be consumed by others or to produce seed so that more fruit can be produced. All spiritual fruit is for the benefit of other people to consume as they need it (although the farmer can certainly partake of and enjoy the fruit they help produce).
- Fruit usually has a short lifespan and must be consumed quickly or it will rot and go to waste. No one knows how many days they have to bear fruit, so it must be produced and distributed with a sense of urgency.
- Fruit requires an ongoing process of pruning and fertilizing its source, or bad or anemic fruit will be produced. Believers must continue to nurture themselves spiritually if they are to bear more and better fruit.
THE RESEARCH IS IN AND . . .
I spent some time reading what others have written about fruit and one thing is for certain: Most people have described what fruit is like (just as I did above) but they are hesitant to come out and say what we should be looking for in our lives that can be called fruit. Some do say that it is souls saved or people we lead to the Lord. Yet, if truth be told, most people do not lead many people to the Lord. Others say it is a vibrant prayer life, but is fruit defined as the number of prayers a believer says in his or her lifetime? Finally, some identify fruit as correct doctrine, but that makes fruit an intellectual pursuit. I discuss in my message what I believe fruit is not, so you can access it to hear more (it's 30-minutes long; in it, I cover the thought that fruit is what is described in Galatians 5:10, usually referred to as the fruit of the Spirit).
Therefore, below I offer my definition of Kingdom fruit, and challenge you to identify what this fruit is in your life. Once you identify it (or if you already know what it is), then I further challenge you to determine how you can be even more fruitful. But first, here is my definition:
following your joy as you combine your God-given gifts, creativity, purpose, experience, interests, and sustained effort in a way that produces something of value for the benefit of others and yourself.
My fruit is comprised of the books I have written; the libraries I have helped establish in Kenya; the classes I have taught at university; the devotionals I have written, published, and posted on social media for 16 years; and the seminars I have conducted on purpose and creativity. Oh yes, and as the Spirit has produced His fruit in my life, it has translated into tangible expressions of empathy for others in painful and difficult situations to which I formerly paid little attention.
Let me close with this thought: All fruit is measurable and measured. We speak of fruit as a cluster, a bunch, peck, half-bushel, bushel, pound, kilo, acre, or hectare. Therefore, I assume that your fruit, even though it's spiritual, must be measurable as well. This week, spend some time praying and thinking about the question, "What is my fruit?" and then follow the answer up with another: "How can I produce more of it?" If you persevere in seeking the answers, you will bear the fruit of the Kingdom in your life that God expects and enjoys. Have a blessed week!