Good people are like budding palm trees. They grow strong like the cedar trees of Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord. They grow strong there in the courtyards of our God. Even when they are old, they will continue producing fruit like young, healthy trees. They are there to show everyone that the Lord is good. He is my Rock, and he does no wrong.
(Psalm 94:12-15 ERV)
Martin Luther said, "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I'd still plant my apple tree." Tomorrow may not be assured, but what we can do today is still in front of us. We must take advantage of what is right in front of us and not be so focused on what lies ahead that we ignore the tasks or responsibilities right in front of us. Luther reminds us we may not always see the fruit of our labors, but today's labor may be the very thing that produces tomorrow's harvest!
The moment we sacrifice what is right in front of us, the opportunity which may come further down the road may no longer be in our path. All God expects of us is our faithfulness with what we are given today. He doesn't deny us the right to "plan" for the future, or to even look forward to it, but he does not want us so consumed with the future that we fail to partake of the things we are called to do today. The time we spend planting today is never wasted. The farmer doesn't withhold the seed because he fears a few bad weather days or dreads the weeds!
What has God called you to plant? Is it your family you are to be "tending" right now? Or perhaps your "extended family" in church or your community? In just a little bit of faithfulness to those God has placed in our path there could be the reality of a harvest way beyond anything we might ever realize in this lifetime. Seeds planted in years and years before I was even born are producing a great harvest today - not just through the lives of "celebrity" preachers or teachers, but through the lives of regular people, consistently doing regular things, in quite regular ways.
It is natural to want to experience the fruit of our "labor", but it isn't always possible. To limit our focus to what we can see, feel, or touch right here in the here and now is to be way too near-sighted. There are times when we need to be faithful to what we are impressed to do and then leave the harvest to the next person who comes behind us. It may be hard to let go, but we aren't the ones responsible to bring the fruit - the Holy Spirit has that job. We are called to be faithful with what he asks of us, then leave the rest into his hands. In so doing, we are assuring what is planted has the potential to bring forth the greatest amount of fruit in just the right season. The key to fruit is faithfulness. Just sayin!
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