Grateful for the Fruit

Published June 27, 2011 by joypatton

Tonight my oldest son Connor was baptized at our church-wide baptism service. Connor has been talking about it for a few years, but Andrew and I were waiting to see consistent fruit in Connor. But Connor is persistent, and after seeking advice from some trusted friends, we decided to let him be baptized. This year I have seen him voice a consistent belief in God, whereas in years past, he has said he didn’t know if he believed.  The other reason I was hesitant was because I really wanted my dad to be there.  He had baptized me when I was eight, and Andrew when he was 20.  I wanted him to be able to see his fruit and the legacy he is leaving.

When people started getting baptized, I thought it was so neat to see them up there with their mentors and people who were discipling them. I thought to myself that someday I would like to be able to play that important of a role in someone’s life. I also started to go down the trail of wondering if I’ve had that kind of impact on anyone and questioning my own fruit and if I even have any.  It’s sad how quickly I fall into the trap of comparing fruit.

But when Andrew was baptizing Connor, I realized that God was letting me see the fruit. In fact, my children are the most important fruit I will ever have. No matter how much “ministry” I do, I never want to forget that my primary ministry, the most important ministry I will ever have, is the ministry I have to my children and my husband. Discipling and caring for them mst be a priority, and tonight God let me see the fruit of that.

You don’t always get to see the fruit. Sometimes people labor for years and never get to see the fruit of their ministry. I heard a story about the Sydney Opera House.  The design of the Opera House was rescued from the trash, and its creator Jorn Utzon, a Danish architect, was given the task of creating the building.  The project took many years and cost much more than planned because Utzon had to work with engineers to create the products they needed to complete the design.  The taxpayers were unhappy and when the governemnt leadership changed, Utzon resigned.  In fact, he wasn’t even invited to the grand opening of the opera house in 1973, nor was his name even mentioned.  I’m sure it felt like he had failed because the fruit he saw was incomplete.  However in 1999, he was invited back when the opera house underwent renovations.  In 2006 at the opening of a new section of the house that was dedicated to him, it was determined that he was not well enough to travel.  He died two years later at the age of 90 having never seen the building with his own eyes.  His son Jack said, that “he lives and breathes the Opera House, and as its creator he just has to close his eyes to see it.”

That is what faith is.  Sometimes we must labor and trust God that the fruit will come.  Sometimes the fruit comes later, and we are not able to see it with our eyes.  Sometimes God lets us see the fruit of our labor.  Tonight I’m grateful to see the fruit.  It gives me courage in the battle and keeps the voice of the enemy quiet, if just for a moment.

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2 comments on “Grateful for the Fruit

  • Oh the Joy of seeing the fruit of our labor in Christ! My precious Joy, God let you peek behind the curtain and see the glory of Him at work in both You and in your beloved Connor! We are called first to disciple our children indeed! I am still basking in the Glory of God and His tangible presence last night moving our kids to say Yes to HIM. It is fruit and proof of the work God has been doing in them through His Spirit for some time.
    The gravity of this decision for Connor will come through as his story unfolds and his faith in God is tested…just like yours and mine was and is each day that we step out into the precipice!

  • Joy, you have had one of the greatest experiences a mother can have. While I was serving as camp nurse at the invitation of your Dad where he was serving as director and pastor I was blessed by being able to see my oldest daughter step out from the crowd as the very first one at the Thursday night campfire to give her testimony and verbally state her intent to follow Christ. She was allowed to come with me as a camper but came very reluctantly with the agreements that she could bring a friend, that I would not speak to her while there and that I would not seek her out! She then followed up that decision by seeking to be baptized at our church in Aurora. The story of how the campership fee for her friend came about is another amazing story for another time but, I believe, was one of Cheryl’s first experiences really seeing how God moves. Just think. You have three more to help bring to faith and disciple. The miracles are just beginning…as is the hard work of teaching by word and example. Love to you as you go.

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