Recently I shared some of my meditations from the verse, “For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people (Isaiah 65:22).
The other half if this verse says, “And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands”.
From this, we can see that God wants us to take satisfaction in our work and our fruitfulness.
Because most of my work is spiritual in nature, I used to be afraid to do this, thinking it would be something akin to “touching His glory” or that it would lead to pride. Yet, I found that withholding this kind of satisfaction from myself was also detrimental, leaving my soul longing for fulfillment. This verse helped me to consciously begin to go the other way, telling the Lord in prayer how much I enjoyed being used by Him. It felt good when a sermon flowed, when we had a great conference, or when a prophecy I gave saved the day. I loved seeing people healed by His touch, as I put my hand on them. After moments like this I would go before Him and with joy recount what happened to Him, just like the disciples did in Luke 10:17-20. Whenever people would express their gratitude to me, I would turn around and offer this gratitude to Him, letting Him know that I knew it was because of His inner working that anything worked. It was then that I could savor how He was using me to help people without it leading to pride.
Do I like it when things are going well in our church? Yes!
Do I like it when the grace He has given to me is flowing and being a blessing others? Yes!
Do I want these things in more abundance? A thousand times, yes!
Jesus said that He came to give us life in abundance. (John 10:10) The Living Bible says “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
He also said that the Father took pleasure from our fruitfulness and that it is evidence that we are abiding in Him. (John 15:8)
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (ESV)
I love glorifying Him this way.
Jesus also said that there would be times of pruning, when nothing seems to grow and life looks rather humbling. I have had plenty of these times, too.
Both of these seasons are a normal part of my relationship to Him.
As I surveyed my life, I knew both of these things were happening at the same time in different areas of my life.
It made me wonder if what Paul said about his finances could be applied to these seasons of fruitfulness and pruning. He said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV).
I have had to learn how to have both.
I can do both of these things as Jesus helps me.
I also know that without Him, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
But I am glad when He uses me. It is deeply satisfying.
I am grateful for all the fruits of my labors.
Yet in the areas of my life where I am not seeing fruit I would like, and yet I am abiding in Him, I will be grateful just the same.