Sunday, October 24

Bearing fruit in season


"...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.

Two young ladies who never missed a single training session. Who knows what all the Lord of the Harvest has in due season for these two potential mango orchards!

9 comments:

andrew said...

Hi Guy. Just wanted to say that I love your blog and have read every post since you started. I am glad you have started posting again! My name is Andrew and I live in Perth Australia.

John 15 is one of my favourite chapters in all the bible.

"Those who abide in me and I in them, WILL produce much fruit. Apart from me you can do NOTHING."

"IF you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for ANYTHING you want, and it will be granted!"

"When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples."

"I chose you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last."

To me the big question is, what does it REALLY mean to ABIDE in Jesus? If we can just focus on doing this then all the fruit bearing is a natural consequence of this intimate connection with the vine and requires no real effort.

GuyMuse said...

Andrew,

Thank you for stopping by and sharing these great thoughts from John 15. I completely agree with you. John 15 is a lesson I am continually having to learn and re-learn. In college I memorized the entire chapter, but memorizing it and living it are two different things!

Anonymous said...

and you know what? you are planting a fruit that you may not see, and harvesting what the ones that came before you planted. Bro. Muse and other missionaries mentored my dad, snd I was blessed and encouraged by their commitment to walk side by side with their mentee. Those little people are readding "between the lines" Ruth

GuyMuse said...

Ruth,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Very true what you write. We never know just what kind of impact and influence we are making upon the lives around us. Just out of curiosity, who was your dad that you refer to below as having been mentored by missionaries? I am not sure I am identifying the right "Ruth"!

Keith said...

Wow, you had set some bodacious, God-sized goals! Know that in the Middle East we would have loved to have seen 15 church planters raised up after a lifetime of service, not just three months!!! I've just left the field in order to equip workers and expand their reach through the use of mobile phone ministry. If you're at all interested in how mobile phones could help equip your church planters and spread the gospel there you can check out our website at www.mobileadvance.org or an article I co-wrote for the International Journal of Frontier Missiology which you can find at http://ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/27_3_PDFs/mobile_williams.pdf

Anonymous said...

my dad Luis Montalvo became a christian 1960 at Bethel Baptist church in Quito, Ecuador. Bro Gilbert and Bro Jim Muse, mentored him in such a way that he was ready to move to Santo Domingo to start new work in 1965. Later Bro. May, Joiner, old bro Doyle at Guayaquil seminary...work with him as he grew in his faith and service to our God. I'm almost certain that those "old" missionaries were intentional in mentoring my dad, yet unintentionally fulfilled God's complete and perfect purpose for their service. The memories of my infance, the ones that attest of God's care and Love that trascends culture, have been a intrinsic source of encouragement as I started to serve Him too. So true and comforting that my thoughts are not God's thoughts, He is ALWAYS doing something great, beyond my greattest aspiration.
So Guy, I read between the lines of church planting and mentoring. To me it sounded like love one another with brotherly love, be faitfull,stand firm, be joyfull, be anxious about nothing, preach in seasson and out of seasson, and many other biblical truths lived out.
Ruth Montalvo Salazar

GuyMuse said...

Keith,

Yeah I am sure it is a different ball game in different parts of the world. I guess what troubles me is that we are in what I would consider a harvest field, and yet so much fruit "goes to waste" while workers seem content to just sit in church. Luke 10:2 is a daily prayer for laborers.

On another note, your mobile phone ministry sounds interesting. I know here practically everyone has a mobile phone. They may not have food or bus money, but they have a phone! We must begin to figure out better ways of taking advantage of this medium that everyone uses.

GuyMuse said...

Ruth,

Now that you identify yourself more fully, of course I know who you are talking about! I just spent the past three days working on a video slide-show of some of the early days of Baptist work in Ecuador. Your dad appears in several of the photos that I used. I love what you write about Love that transcends culture, have been a intrinsic source of encouragement... One of our daily prayers for many years now has been that God would grant us a love for the people amongst whom we serve. He has faithfully answered that prayer, and we too have been encouraged much over the years. Thank you for your kind words--and encouragement!--like everyone else, we too, get discouraged and wonder if it is worth it all. Reading what you write assures me that God is always working behind the scenes whether we realize it or not. Our task is to be faithful, His to accomplish his purposes.

Gabe said...

Glad to see you back sharing some celestial nuggests.

On this same topic of bearing fruit, I'm reminded of an interesting statement I heard from a sister "under the influence" of Holy Spirit.

It went something like this:

"The work of the gospel,
The work of a believer,
is simply to believe.

We are to labor to rest,
Work not to work"

This is the great paradox of our faith"

Your posting and this sister's word totally rang deep. Thanks again my friend and chat with you soon:)

And may those 2 little cuties bear an abundance of mangoes in their upcoming orchards - Amen!

Gabryel