25 Sept 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)
“It’s been five years since I accepted Christ. But the Lord has allowed me to be a deacon, a leader of a cell group and a FGB leader, I asked God, ‘Why me?’”
“We are still human. I told God, ‘I cannot.’ But the Lord understands and He knows us very well,” said Karlos Yan, a cheerful and positive chap who wore a bright smile on his face.
Before he accepted Christ, he was a financial planner who enjoyed the life of smoking and drinking. In search for potential business associates, he stumbled upon the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship (FGBMF) in Taman Desa.
In one FGBMF meeting, Karlos went with the intention to increase his clients’ business investment. But during the meeting, he ended up sharing with the leader about his crumbling finance and family. At that time, he was in a business debt and he was about to divorce his wife who was pregnant with their first daughter. But the leader of the FGB prayed for Karlos and his wife. Karlos accepted Christ in the meeting, followed by his wife later when Karlos told her about his faith. That was the turning point of his life.
The Lord provided Karlos a check to pay off his business debts. His relationship with his wife also became better over time. Karlos grew so much as a believer that the church appointed Karlos as a church-planter in an isolated area at Meru, Klang. For the past five years, Karlos have faithfully preached in the church with his family starting with only a few attendees at 8 AM every Sunday. Recently, the Lord has also led him to buy a house in Meru, Klang. Although his church remained small today, Karlos and his family never stopped serving weekly in his church.
“It’s not about finding the results but being faithful to Him,” said Karlos. He is more concerned with being faithful than bearing fruits.
In fact, his faithfulness reminded me of the parable of the talents, where Jesus specifically used the words—Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matt 25:23).
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matt 25:23)
Why have Jesus not used the word ‘fruitful’ instead of ‘faithful’?
What does ‘fruitfulness’ actually mean?
FRUITFULNESS AS WE PERCEIVE
Sometimes, we refer to fruitfulness as the tangible results that we see in from our church ministry, career, and home. This type of fruitfulness, also called external fruitfulness, has nothing to do with moral values, but focus purely on measurable results such as the number of people attending church, our salary increment, and also the transformation in our spouse’s behavior.
FRUITFULNESS AS GOD PERCEIVE
While we tend to focus on external fruitfulness, we often forget something that is more valuable in God’s eyes (though less tangible), called as the internal fruitfulness.
This internal fruitfulness refers to our character (Matt 7:17-20) and the manifestation of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us (Gal 5:22-23, 1 Peter 3:4), which come from walking closely with God daily in our life.
This internal fruitfulness helps us to grow to become more like Christ. Instead of seeing the fruitfulness occurring outside of us, we see fruitfulness coming out from within us.
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matt 7:17-20)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23)
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self,the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Pet 3:4)
EXTERNAL VERSUS INTERNAL FRUITFULNESS
So, how shall we picture external fruitfulness and internal fruitfulness?
Internal fruitfulness is likened to the roots growing out of a seed that is planted underground. Although this process is hidden from men, it is clearly seen in the eyes of God.
Before we show external fruitfulness in the form of a tender plant, the Lord is more interested in establishing our root first in His Word. Only when we have built strong roots that are continually connected to God, we will see the process of the plant breaking its ground!
Though this plant may come from a tiny mustard seed, its continual growth and strengthening of the roots of trust and obedience would allow it to grow into its full stature as a tree—so large that birds can ever perch on them. (Luke 13:18-19)
And the beautiful thing about this tree is that it does not only look externally strong, it is also internally strong because of its roots. It can withstand against any uncertain and hazardous weather!
My friends, you are that tree. Karlos Yan is that tree. So, do not despair when troubles challenge your faith because every challenge helps to drive your roots deeper underground to God’s Living Water and adds a fiber of strength to your being. As you establish your roots in the Lord, you become that strong and large tree that can serve others!
But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jer 17:7-8)
FAITHFULNESS ABOVE FRUITFULNESS
Hence, if you are laboring for your church, ministry, work, or home without any external fruits, do not give up. Even though men do not see or men forget, the Lord sees your hard work and He will never forget your labor for the Kingdom.
Instead of complaining, Karlos has turned to Scripture to remember the promises of God for His children. God is faithful and He will fulfill His Will on earth as it is in Heaven.
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. (1 Thes 2:13)
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Pet 1:22-23)
Note: This article is an expanded version of his sharing with elaboration by the author.
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