Friday, January 7, 2011

Taking Care of Business: How to Become a Fruit Tree

I’ve heard many preachers say, “If you take care of God’s business; He’ll take care of your business.” That statement is usually made in reference to giving financially to the church.

Money - which is needed to support the church (whose mission *should* be to equip and strengthen its congregation, its neighborhood and the world through spiritual enlightenment AND through alms) - is not the only way we take care of God's business. We’re admonished also to bear fruit which is a result of living His way.

Let’s take a look at what The Message Bible has to say about fruit. Incidentally, I love The Message Bible because it really breaks down Scripture in no nonsense language that sometimes makes me chuckle.


Galatians 5:21-23 (The Message)

19-21It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

23-24Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.


Good stuff, huh? Stick with me, I’m going somewhere…

I made a few declarations in this post and one statement I made has been nagging me:

I will be accountable and honor my commitments.

The New Year is only seven days old and I’m proud to say that honoring commitments has been a breeze. 2010, however, is a different story.

Take a look back at verses 22-23: “But what happens when we live God’s way…We develop a willingness to stick with things...we find ourselves involved in loyal commitments…”

Let that marinate.

I am a Christian that strives to live God’s way. And regardless of what was going on in my life that I could or could not control in 2010, I did a poor job of keeping my word (or at the very least, communicating why I couldn't) to people that I respect and care about.

Over the next week or so, I’ve got some splainin’ to do. Some folks won’t understand and others will think that I’m apologizing for small infractions. Makes no difference, I have to do this for me.

Sticking with things and loyal commitments (along with the other fruit mentioned) are an outward manifestation of a deliberate, inward spiritual relationship.

So yeah, in 2011, I’m taking care of business as best as I can. Bygones can’t be bygones because the law of reciprocity is real:


Galatians 6:7-8 (The Message)

7-8Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.


Anything been nagging you about 2010 that won’t allow you to fully appreciate what 2011 has to offer?

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