September 1, 2021

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He 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.” Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (NIV)

Bearing Fruit

As I walked along our country lane, my mind somersaulted back over the many years I worked at our local college. I fondly recalled students I counseled, advised, and taught.

On any given day throughout my tenure, I would help students set up class schedules, explore careers, help them overcome math and/or test anxiety, and problem solve. Those were the easy tasks. Walking individuals through depression and/or grief, working with those in domestic violence situations, helping them overcome issues of former child abuse, and other challenging circumstances were also the norm rather than the exception. On more than one occasion, thankfully, I was able to get law enforcement involved in time to prevent a suicide.

My job was demanding, yet rewarding. I felt a sense of meaning and purpose every day.

Since I retired, many of those students have reached out to thank me for the difference I made in their lives.

I pondered all of this while plodding along our rural road and silently asked myself, But now what difference am I making?

My thoughts went to a conversation I’d had a few days earlier with my sister. Judy told me she was sending birthday cards to friends and family members, and would continue to do so throughout the year and beyond. Already a woman had responded with a bouquet of appreciation, expressing how Judy had made her day—clear evidence of my sister making a difference in someone’s life.

What a wonderful ministry! Especially in this day and age when we mostly receive Facebook, email, or text greetings. It is truly a blessing to open a mailbox and discover the treasure of a card or letter.

But I digress. Back to my evening walk . . . I again questioned what difference I was making. Either in the world at large, or in someone’s life. It seemed I was in a drought and had been for a while. Since I was no longer teaching or counseling, I could not see evidence of my life bearing fruit. Instead, my gaze fell upon trash in the ditch.

A thought flitted by:

You pick up litter and make My creation cleaner in the process.

Oh, yeah.

You generously share the bounty of your garden with others.

I smiled at this. My four cucumber plants are producing about a dozen cukes a day. At first neighbors welcomed the harvest. Then when I appeared at their houses, they held out a “stop-right-there-I-don’t-need-anymore” hand. Now, people don’t even answer their doors when I knock. Friday, I took a sack of cucumbers to our CPA. Wouldn’t you know her office was closed? I was not to be thwarted. I spied a janitor cleaning a restroom and was happy that she was more than happy to take the little gems off my hands. Yesterday, I flagged down the mail carrier in the middle of the road. Yay! She was thrilled to take a full bag of my crop’s yeild. My husband says he’s sick of eating two cukes a day (I’ve been chowing down that many as well) and wants me to pull up the plants. I can’t see God’s blessings go to waste.

 

 

 

 

 

Messages continued to ticker-tape across my mind . . .

You deliver flowers to the sick and grieving.

From time to time.

You pray for those who are hurting and in need.

Yes.

You write a monthly devotional blog to encourage readers.

That is my hope.

You might ask if I actually hear God speaking to me. In the preceding dialogue, His words came to me in the form of images He projected into my mind’s eye. I had no doubt they came from my Heavenly Father, for I know His voice—however it comes.

When the reflections faded, I was grateful to the Lord for helping me see that even though I no longer go to a job each day, I am being fruitful. And that the drought I thought existed is non-existent because I have other opportunities.

Thank you, Jesus for encouraging me and being the lifter of my head.

“But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory (and my honor), and the One who lifts my head.”

Psalm 3:3 (NASB)

 

Do you feel discouraged or disheartened about something? Are you seeing the situation clearly or through distorted lens?

Do you doubt your worth? Consider this . . .

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”—Luke 12:6-7 (ESV)

I encourage you to redirect your focus from self-doubt or self-dissuasion to the One who knows you best. The One who loves you and has only good in store for you.

“‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

If you, dear reader, would like me to pray for you, please send me an email. You don’t have to give details, only a request. I take my job as prayer warrior seriously and consider it an honor and a privilege to be fruitful in this endeavor.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you that you gently turn our attention to you and your truths. Please show us what you want us to know about You and about ourselves. Thank you that when we are anxious your kind words cheer us up. Thank you for helping each of us be that person who never fails to bear fruit. And please help each reader know You more intimately and see what you see in him or her. Amen

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  “What God lifts up, no person can push down.”—Anonymous