Fruit seems to be a touchy issue these days.
Jesus tells us to be fruit inspectors, and even says that we are to be known by our fruit. See Matt. 7:15-27.
We shouldn’t, therefore, be bashful about looking for and asking about fruit when discerning someone’s ministry, doctrines and practices – even if they find that offensive.
However, it’s one thing to look for fruit, but it’s another thing to be wise fruit inspectors.
For example, there are those who labor for a long time and see no external fruit. Does “no fruit” invalidate them?
Not necessarily. There is a big difference between no apparent fruit and actual bad fruit.
There have been seasons in my life when I needed to be steadfast, even though I saw little external fruit. My “fruit” was being being faithful to God’s call, even though I was not seeing results at the time.
In some of those seasons, I was the field being overturned and plowed, but I didn’t see it at the time. Eventually, external fruit did come, but only after years of God first quietly doing a work in me.
Other times, the Lord simply called me to sow, only to then move on. The resulting fruit, and harvest, He left for others.
There also have been times of great fruit, but not always in terms that I – or others – would have expected.
After all, it is Jesus – not you or I – who is Lord of the harvest. See Luke 10:2.
Good fruit comes as faithful men and women sow good seed, as the Lord directs. But never forget that it is God who brings the harvest – His way, and in His timing.
I have come to appreciate that the most faithful laborers in His Kingdom are those who sow, without necessarily reaping.
Where there is actual bad fruit, let’s rightly judge those who have sown bad seed.
But where there is no apparent fruit, let’s be wise fruit inspectors. Because the fruit of faithfulness is often the most precious fruit of all.