I imagine a future moment when God turns us around in heaven to show us how He used our lives for His purposes. Surely, I am not the only one hoping to see He used me mightily, right? You hope the same.
Like Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Peter, Paul.
Yes. I am that bold in desire.
Not that I am anywhere close to the caliber of these heroes of the faith, but that the RESULTS of my life for eternity can be just as magnificent. Is that even possible?
Yes. That is completely possible.
The source of such confidence is not in myself. The source of my confidence is in God, His promises and the principles of the Kingdom of God. The secret of doing great things for God does not begin with what we hear about these days – vision boards and dreaming big. Sure, reflecting about our dreams may help us identify some desires God placed in us with His very own hand, but how our dreams are realized, or if those dreams are realized, is His business, not ours.
I don’t think we can know what God is up to with our lives.
His story is global and includes all of time. How can we dare to think we would know our part? Even as I write, I know I have been influenced by the world and the ever-increasing presence of cultural Christianity and social media. I still also sin, so I cannot automatically presume I hear God without error or see clearly the path ahead. God is the only one who knows the good purposes for which each of us were created, so I propose He is the only one who knows the path to get those purposes accomplished.
But we can know for certain He will use our lives mightily.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
To many — including me — my life is small. I am aging. I work at an institution that is not Ivy League. I live in a modest home and earn a modest income. In our youth-obsessed, title happy society, my list of accomplishments is of little interest to many people.
Why does that matter? From a human perspective, I know that some people will see me and decide by my appearance not to greet me. Some who introduce themselves and engage in small talk will dismiss me after hearing a few details that are shared and decide there is no further interest in developing a relationship with me.
Don’t dismiss these communication concepts too quickly or think I am being too hard on myself. Such rapid decisions based on shallow and stereotypical information are made quickly by all of us . Pay attention to how you greet some people while standing in line but not others. What is the basis for those decisions? Do you say hello to young mothers but not old ladies? Whites but not blacks? Well dressed but not sloppy? Or are your decisions based on yourself — like your mood, appearance, or your level of willingness to expend energy in that particular moment? Be prepared to see some truths that are hard to face. Talk to God about it all and let Him cleanse your heart.
Again, why do these things matter to me? Knowing the reality of how quickly each of us is dismissed means a whole bunch of people miss out on seeing the gospel message that lives in my heart.
And that makes me sad.
My comfort – and yours – is knowing that no matter how insignificant, haphazard or few our relationships with people –
we will bear fruit for the Kingdom as long as we are walking with God.
Just like an apple tree does not work hard at bearing apples; just like an oak tree does not work hard at bearing acorns; as you and I are walking with God, we will not have to work hard at bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. We will work to plant seeds, but we will exert no energy in making those seeds grow. The principle of this world says, “The more you put in, the more you get out.” But the principle of the Kingdom of God is, “Once you are walking closely with me….
put in anything at all, and unbelievable results will occur.”
Consider the mustard seed: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32, emphasis mine)
In God’s hands, everything you and I do while attached to the Vine — while walking closely with God — will produce miraculous results. No contribution made for God ends up being small in the end.
Welcome to the glorious Kingdom of God.
Picture Explanation: Once you see the trunk of a tree, you know the fruit it will produce. No matter how others respond to us, always remember: We do the planting. He does the growing. And the growing is always mind-blowing.
The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
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