Fruitfulness In 2020
Evaluating this year of 2019 in its closing moments, I feel as if I find myself in a wresting ring in the midst of an audience – but as I look again, there are no people in the seats; it’s just me on the sweaty, dank mat..not even the main lights are on. This “squared circle” not dissimilar the scene at Bethel where Jacob encounters himself, as he encounters God. At Bethel, God confirmed that He had chosen Jacob and that He would follow through with him regardless of the past. Jacob arrived a man with a price on his head and not much of a future, but he left transformed inwardly and an outward future and a hope with which he could live. At least I have discovered this, and I thank those who have encouraged me to continue to pursue and express the call of God, even at this stage of my life.
You see, at the commencement of the year it was as if I heard the voice of the Lord say to me, “this will be a year of fruitfulness”. To anyone strolling through the orchid or wheat-field of my life this year, or scrolling through my social media posts, there hasn’t been an awful lot of visible evidence of this.
I sense the story of my year may not be unlike yours. Unmet promises and unfulfilled dreams.
Obviously I have deliberated with and enquired of God about this clear promise and not seeing it fulfilled. If anything, it has been a year of dying.
Well, the answer came to me a few days ago.
Jesus said this, “Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died.” John 12:24 TPT
There are many memories or things we could remember from 2019 and take into 2020. Besides many other challenges, Brenda and I both lost our mom’s this year…the love and guidance of a mother is such a treasure to all of us. But what we are choosing to take into the year ahead is not the memory of the pain but the memory of the goodness and faithfulness of God. The memory of a hope of eternal life in the presence of God, life lessons learnt, the encounters with God in the dark and lonely places, the power of His life-changing Word, the good friends we have made, the miraculous provision of God…and so much more. We are choosing to remember 2019 the right way.
God is not nearly as interested in what you have accomplished as He is with what you have become. You may feel like you have lost a lot but if you consider the goodness of God in your life just for a moment, you will see how faithful He has been and just how fruitful your life is going to be up ahead.
A friend in ministry and I were talking about this today and came to the conclusion that while there may be much evident and visible fruit in the lives of many, Jesus talks about fruit that remains. There have been several very fruitful or successful ministries that have ended this year, sadly the fruit has not remained.
There is also something about the nature of our generous God that requires much fruit. He is not satisfied with you being ten-fold fruitful. He desires you to be a hundred-fold fruitful. Sometimes we settle for the little when God says “much is what I have in mind”. The only way this can happen is if we allow Him to work in the unseen and secret place, this is where whatever is hindering us from moving into a higher level of fruitfulness is dealt with.
The magnificence of Jesus is our focus and objective. I recall the lyrics of an old hymn we sang growing up.
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity
Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me”.
“Christ is most magnified when we’re more satisfied in him than in what we lose in death and what we have in life.” John Piper
May the year 2020 be a year of above-ground fruitfulness based on your below-ground past and encounters with God.
All our love and blessings.
Lindsay & Brenda Dillman