Matt Hall: Let people pick your fruit
Published 9:49 am Friday, March 15, 2019
I’ve known since I was a child I wanted to be a pastor.
In fact, the first time someone told me they were certain God had called me to that, my response was a very polite form of, “duh.” I just already knew it.
I grew up in a pastor’s home, having the privilege to observe one of the best I’ve ever seen, my dad.
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I thought I knew everything it took to do the job, but recently, I was called upon by a family to do something new to me.
Someone who had once attended my youth group had lost their life and I was honored to have been asked to do the service.
I went in with the family of young adults who had lost their sibling, I hugged them, cried with them, and did my best to speak words of hope to all of them.
Then I walked out with the casket and went to the graveside with my former student.
As it was all happening, it struck me: “I’m going as far as I can physically go with someone, and that’s what I’m here to do.”
It was an awe-inspiring, terrifying, humbling and almost holy realization.
With it came the understanding they needed to have something sustaining from me during this horrible time.
The apostle Paul wrote to some of his spiritual family in Philippians 4, thanking them for their support of his ministry.
In verse 17, he said, “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”
I’ve always heard this preached as a direction to the people; that because of their faithfulness to Paul, his success was their success.
I believe that could be the case, but I think there’s a second part to it. Perhaps Paul realized as well that he had a key part to play in their lives too?
The Greek word for fruit in this passage means, “Fruit as plucked.” Seems obvious enough.
Upon reading it, it struck me to ask, “What is the purpose of fruit?”
Fruit is grown to propagate new trees, and in that process, to be consumed by something outside the tree.
In fact, fruit that isn’t consumed but remains on a tree, rots and harms the tree.
Paul desired to produce fruit for them, not for him.
Paul recognized God was doing something in him that could sustain others.
Paul needed to love, not because he wasn’t a good Christian if he didn’t; he needed to love because the people in his life needed God’s love through him.
Our joy is not for us, but for those who don’t have any.
Our peace is for people who are in chaos.
Our faithfulness stirs theirs. The people around us, like that family, need to be able pluck fruit from the tree of our lives to sustain them.
This realization is for every believer.
Let people pick your fruit.
Matt Hall is the youth pastor at Church of the Living God in Winchester. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.