Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 7:20 am | Fog/Mist 56º

 
 
 
 
Faith

Jim Langley: Are You Bearing Much Fruit for God’s Glory?

As a young boy, I was fortunate to live on my grandparents’ farm for nearly two years while my dad was stationed overseas. Those were special times spent with my Grandpa Opa, and I must say I learned some valuable lessons from him that have carried me through challenging times in life.

Farming is a very humbling profession filled with many unforeseen risks that can greatly affect your livelihood. Weather is unpredictable and you are basically in the commodities market for better or worse.

What Opa had going for him was 80-plus acres of excellent loam soil that produced fine crops as long as the rains came as expected and other adverse weather conditions did not interfere with harvesting the crops he produced.

Jesus shared a parable about soil in Matthew 12:3-9 with a large crowd that gathered around Him on one occasion. He spoke about the Seed (God’s word) falling on four types of soil. Please bear with me on this since I know these soil types are applicable to our lives and our faith journey.

The first seed scattered by the farmer fell on the path and the birds came and ate it all. Some fell on rocky places without much soil. Even though small plants grew, they soon withered from the scorching sun and the lack of proper roots. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew faster and choked the plants before they had a chance to mature. Finally, the seeds that fell on good soil produced a substantial crop that was 100, 60 or 30 times what was sown.

You may be asking, “So what does this have to do with my life?” Well, as followers of Christ, I believe this parable gives us an important example of what really matters during our short time here on earth.

Once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we need to assess just how we spend the days that lie ahead. Since we have no idea just how much time we have, there should be a real urgency to our pleasing God in every way possible.

Certainly we need to continue to work and provide for the needs of our family. And we need to spend adequate time nurturing our family as well.

But “good soil” needs to make room for God’s word and being about His business. That will look different to each believer, but I can tell you what it looks like in my life.

Seldom does a day go by when I’m not confronted by someone in need, and I look forward to the spiritual discussions that often follow and the opportunities to serve their needs as God sees fit.

Sometimes it’s as simple as referring them to someone else who has the expertise and wisdom to help them more than I ever could.

On other occasions I know that God wants me to invest time, talent and possibly treasure into their lives. Jesus showed His compassion and was the friend of many and we need to do likewise.

You may want to ask yourself a few questions regarding your relationship with the Seed (God’s word): Do you see the seed being eaten by the birds before it takes root? Are your efforts for God having minimal impact or simply withering before you very eyes? Are the concerns of this world choking out your usefulness in furthering His kingdom? Are you bearing much fruit for God’s glory?

I hope you can honestly answer the first three questions with a resounding “No!” and the last with a triumphant “Yes!”

Find a trusted Christian friend to dig deep into this issue with you to see if your life represents the type soil God can use for His glory. Hopefully, that trusted Christian friend will give you an honest assessment. Take their words to heart and strive to draw closer to God every remaining day of your life.

In order to be prepared for what lies ahead, we need to be in God’s word daily and be around others who will strengthen us in our walk.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon reminds us that “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” So, call upon the Holy Spirit to strengthen you each morning, come alongside fellow believers, be available to God in all seasons and become that fertile soil that produces much fruit!

Passages to Ponder

» Matthew 12:3-9

» Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

» Psalm 1:1-6

» James 5:7-9

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara ​(Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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