Wednesday, July 16, 2003

A person's future and God...

I've heard a lot of well meaning Christians say in regards to their futures, "I'm trying to figure out what I can do that'll make the biggest impact for the kingdom of God."

Not too long ago, I finished reading the book of Jeremiah. Yo, lemme tell ya, it ain't a whole lot of fun. This dude had serious problems with depression.

Jeremiah, from a ministry standpoint was a humong-o failure. Lemme explain. He was a prophet. But nobody listened to him. Nobody repented because of his work. He didn't do anything "really cool." He didn't have fire come down from heaven like Elijah. He didn't control animals to eat children who made fun of him like Elisha.

Jeremiah just said what God told him to say, and when the people didn't listen, he cried and asked God to stop telling him to preach. But Jeremiah continued. He CONTINUED.

As a warning against false prophets, Jesus warns that you'll recognize a real prophet by his fruit. We've taken that to mean that a good leader has a lot of fruit... the kind that look like hordes of people coming to Christ, hordes of people recommitting their lives to Christ, being part of a humong-o church that multiplies disciples throughout the world (work fruit). But assuming that Jeremiah's a legit prophet, Jeremiah's fruit is found in his HEART, not in his WORK. He saw none of that stuff. If there is "heart fruit," there is the possibility that "work fruit" will appear. But whether "work fruit" shows up or not is God's decision.

The problem with saying, "I'm trying to figure out what I can do that'll make the biggest impact for the kingdom of God," is two-fold. First, when we think about the words "the biggest impact" we're really only thinking about work fruit. The thinking is, if a ton of people don't come to Christ as a result of me, I didn't make a big impact. The truth is that work fruit can quite easily be manipulated to look even better than it really is. In some cases it can appear to look like there is work fruit when in reality there is none. The second problem, is closely tied to the first. Put simply, there are too many "I"s. The focus is all wrong. The focus is on "me." What can I do?

The thing is that when God calls us and chooses us to do something, the question "What can I do?" kinda just fades away. It just doesn't matter. God chose Jeremiah to do something. It wasn't fun. It wasn't a very cool job. And in the end, Jeremiah didn't have very much to show for it all in terms of numbers. But he had lots to show for it in his heart. Patience. Longsuffering. Perseverence. Trust. Humility.

Jeremiah 1:4-5

No comments: