"...he shall be like a tree planted
by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit
in his season..." Psalm 1:3b
I write these words in our backyard tree swing. Most mornings I enjoy my first cup of coffee out rocking under the ciruela tree. To my left is a mango tree. This time of year the branches are loaded with fruit. From where I gently swing I can count more than 50 mangoes in a single 2'x3' branch area. Every year in December/January this tree bears an abundance of sweet juicy mangoes.
This morning as I was expressing my disappointment to the Lord over the last few months of lean Kingdom harvest, the Spirit turned my attention to the mango tree. Every year that tree bears fruit...in its season.
I can pray fervently throughout the year for fruit in March, June, August, or October and it would make little difference. The tree will bear fruit, but will do so only in its season.
God's ways are not our ways. Our ways are to set annual "fruit goals" which we then average out over what we expect for the year. My own 2010 Ministry Assessment Profile (MAP) states by 12/31/10 we will have trained 300 house church planters to begin 200 New Outreach Groups (NOG). Hopefully, at least half of these NOG will result in true NT ekklesias if those trained "do it right."
To attain this goal we must train 25 people every month so that at least 16 of these will bear some kind of measurable fruit. I can assure you we are FAR BELOW achieving these numbers! Last weekend we graduated 15. That was the fruit of, not one, but three months of work. Discouraging indeed from a MAP point-of-view.
But God works not on monthly averages, but on fruit bearing in season. If the tree remains planted by the rivers of water (Ps.1:3), abiding in the vine (Jn.15:4), Jesus says there will be much fruit (Jn.15:5,8).
Just like those mangoes to my left, my "real job" is not to achieve our MAP goals, but to remain/abide in Him. Staying attached to the branch, allowing Him to do the work in, through, and around us--THAT IS OUR TASK. To bear fruit, yes; but to do so in His season, timing, and way.