I found a note when cleaning out my wallet the other day. I have tons of these sweet memorabilia tucked away, from the tulip drawn by granddaughter Hollyn when she was four to the ticket stub from our last date night. I’m a sentimentalist and treasure these things above all other.
But this note held even more meaning because it was a message from the Lord.
It was a simple yet direct word that He gave shortly after we moved to the Coast, in my first few weeks of ministry.
Many will come bearing no fruit. Be not dismissive, neither waste your time.
I absolutely love how the Lord can say in 13 words what would take me two pages to explain. That short message was prophetic, warning, and encouraging at once.
Many will come: Some were coming FOR help; some were coming TO help.
bearing no fruit: They were saying the right things but their actions didn’t line up. Some were deliberately deceitful; some truly believed they were in the right spirit. (This also alludes to the fact that some WILL come bearing fruit.)
Be not dismissive: Be compassionate. Don’t get mad at the blind man for not being able to see. Do what you can to help….
neither waste your time: ….but don’t spin your wheels. There are some you need to walk away from. There are others you must draw the line between helping and enabling. We offer a chance for a new life, the hope in Christ. We plant a seed; we sometimes stick around to water it. But we don’t plant, dig, replant, water, watch, fret, add fertilizer, water some more, pull the stem out of the ground…
It was a great message and it’s served me well. Looking back, I see many people who’ve come along to minister with us who’ve fallen by the wayside. They were on fire for the Lord and now they can’t be bothered to even get out of bed on Sunday mornings. I’ve seen others denounce Christ and begin practicing witchcraft. Others, ravenous wolves from the beginning, have had their sheep masks torn away.
But in the midst of it have been the ones who’ve bloomed much fruit. So much fruit that their fruit has poured over into our orchards! We’ve met some incredible people, many of whom are still in our lives today. There have been some whose journeys only briefly intersected with ours but we still shared the same goals.
Some of the ones I thought were great Christians were not. Some of the ones I thought were (um, shall we say…) “different” were actually wonderful servants of God.
I think this is why the Lord told me to be not dismissive. Because it wasn’t just about compassion, it was also about me not rushing to judgement. Sometimes it takes some time to see clearly.
But once you do, then you need to either grab on or go on.
But don’t waste your time!