The Goal of Stewardship: Fruitfulness *
We generally think about the life of Jesus, depicted in the Gospels, as one of ceaseless activity and unending supernatural works of power.
But think about this – how old was Jesus before His public earthly ministry began? Most estimates put him at about 30 years old.
The Son of God. Without sin. Yet, delayed public fruitfulness.
Even during His public ministry, there were seasons when certain activities were delayed. Read the brief account in the Gospel of John 7:1-9. Here, being urged to go up to Jerusalem for a feast (in order to demonstrate His miraculous works), He demurred, saying “My time is not yet here…” – just as He did at the beginning of His ministry, when urged by His mother to do something special at the wedding in Cana.
Moses. Abraham. Joseph. Hannah. David. Many of God’s saints through the ages went through years and even decades of delay before bearing their most significant fruit.
Maturation comes before fruit-bearing.
We are to be fruitful stewards, as much as within us lies – but also patient sons and daughters, allowing God to perfect His purposes in His (often inscrutable) timing.
Remember – what you read in the Scriptures is often the condensed version. Many years of less visible maturing work, of time-proven discipline, are left in the margins of our imagination.
I scratch my head in puzzlement when I look at my 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. What was happening during those times for the kingdom? Was I doing anything worthwhile? And, frankly, that sort of introspection can be a real black hole of doubt and regret. How did the people of Israel feel, wandering about the desert for all those years??
Yet here is our hope – God is shaping and maturing us. Even in the seasons of delay and obscurity. Our greatest fruitfulness may be, to our surprise, still down the road.
I don’t like driving slowly through construction zones. But for sinners redeemed (and being redeemed) by grace, our life here on earth IS a construction zone. Expect Delays.
* This series is part of a 12-week study on the topic: Being Stewards of God <— (outline). We’re now in week 5, considering how fruitfulness is the goal of stewardship. If you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, just put your email address in the Email Subscription box on the blog’s right sidebar.