I spoke at my church one night last week. While I spoke, several of my friends prayed for me. One was at their own church. One was at home. One was driving on the road. None of them were members of "my" church, although people at my church were praying, too.
As it turned out, I was surprised at the very last minute with extra time, but God helped me. He gave me words and filled up every minute. I don't know how the listeners received what I said, but it felt to me as if the Holy Spirit handled the entire time.
Afterward, I texted my friends to thank them for praying. One friend seemed surprised when I said, "Thanks for sharing in the work."
I was reminded again this morning that the fruit of our labors is not our own. Jesus said He is the vine and we are the branches. (John 15:5) When the branches bear fruit, the vineyard keeper doesn't gather the fruit from each branch separately. He gathers all the fruit together into one big basket.
The juice from the vine is made from the combination of the fruit of every branch.
In that same way, when we "bear fruit" in our service for the Lord, it's combined with all the other fruit from all the other branches. We are co-laborers for a common goal: Loving God and loving others through the service that love motivates.
Any fruit I produce will be combined with yours, as well as the fruit my pastor bears and the fruit of Billy Graham and every other believer. It's an amazing work of God. Everyone's efforts make a difference.
Just as our bodies are made of multiple parts, two hands, two knees, one mouth, so the body of Christ is made of many parts. Some speak. Some pray. Some go. Some serve.
Every job matters.
None is expendable.
It takes all of us to get the job of sharing the gospel of peace done.
Whether I'm speaking, writing, or going, it's all done in tandem with the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ. Those who've invested in me by teaching, discussing Scripture, guiding my steps, encouraging, praying (or any other aid) all have a part in whatever God does through my meager efforts. All those who've helped you have a part in what God does through you, as well.
As the body of Christ, our work is not a competition. We're a team, and I'm grateful to be a part. You're a part, too. If you've read my blog, made a comment, or liked and shared a post, you've encouraged me. Strengthened me. Helped me along the way. You're a part of what God is doing through me, and a part of any lives that are changed.
Thank you for sharing in the work.
We may not see what God does through our efforts in this world, but one day, we'll taste the blended fruit of all our labors. We'll take one sip, rejoice at the depth of the flavor, and know its was worth it.
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:6 ESV
#givethanks #bearingfruit #fruitblend #disciple