I once gave a lesson to my students about bearing spiritual fruit. It was a pre-fab outline from the pre-fab class I was teaching so as I prepped for the lecture, I braced myself for a boring time.
After all, we were at a Christian University with a bunch of church kids.
Well, I don’t know about my students, but that lesson changed my life.
Before teaching that lesson, I had never connected the idea that Good Fruit means that it has a seed, or the ability to grow in another person’s life. And then from that seed, more fruit can grow in another person’s life. And the cycle goes on and on.
That’s Good Fruit, the true fruit of a life that has been changed through God’s mercy and grace.
Like so many Christians, (and let’s face it, Millennial Christians, as I begrudgingly accept that title for myself), I want to have an impact and live out my faith in a way that changes peoples lives for the better.
But it’s hard, ya’ll. (Can I get an “Amen”?)
It’s hard, not only because I have 4 kids and a military husband and my own crap to deal with (yea, depression!) but because I don’t always see the seeds sprout.
And that’s okay. That’s where faith comes in and trusting that God is at work despite all my shortcomings.
But when you see the seed sprout? And then grow fruit? And see that fruit shed seeds in another person’s life and then see that seed sprout? That’s incredible.
Let me tell you a story.
The very last class I taught at the university, when I felt like I was invisible to the administration, and when I was being phased out as an adjunct, I taught an amazing group of freshmen. It was the pre-fab class: University 101, where we basically teach them life skills like study habits, time management, and how to give a power point speech.
I had a special connection with one of my students named Kyrie (Kei-ree-ay) and as the class ended, she asked me to be her mentor.
For the next two years, we met regularly to talk about everything from study habits, boundaries, time management, ministry, and boyfriends. She has such an open heart and a willingness to learn and grow. Our relationship has been a complete joy to me and I have seen so much personal growth in her since her freshman year.
This summer, while she was a counselor at camp, she met a high school girl named Megan (not her real name). After the week of camp ended, Kyrie essentially became Megan’s mentor.
Megan has a lot of challenges at home and at school. She struggles with negative self-talk and sometimes goes to some very dark places in her mind.
At the beginning of October, Kyrie texted me and asked for advice: Megan was engaging in self-harm.
“This is way beyond you or me trying to help her. She needs a professional. Would she consider a counselor?”
Kyrie texted me back: “I’ve mentioned counseling in the past. She thinks it’s weird and said no way.”
My heart sank and I bit my lip, praying for wisdom but remembering this sobering truth: If people don’t want help, you can’t force them to get help. That’s one of the hardest things about loving someone who is struggling.
“What about a school counselor or a youth pastor?” I wrote back.
But I wasn’t hopeful. From what Kyrie had told me, Megan had a lot of challenges and a difficult personality. She often resisted help and advice, continuing to walk in the same paths, making the same negative choices over and over again.
But I prayed for her. And I prayed for Kyrie.
It was all I could do.
But then? A tiny spout popped out of a tiny seed that Kyrie had been sowing diligently for the past 4-5 months.
She texted me the next evening: “She went to the guidance counselor at her school!!!!”
And so much joy spilled out of my heart.
Kyrie went on to tell me that Megan’s friends encouraged her to go and that, while the meeting with the guidance counselor only lasted 15 minutes, it was really good and helpful.
I don’t even know Megan but I wanted to whoop and laugh and cry and dance around the room at this news.
This is Life.
This is light in a dark place.
This is growth.
This is a spouted seed…
…from Kyrie’s fruit…
…which started from my seed that I planted in her life…
which started from my fruit…
…which started from all the people who have planted good seeds in my life from the past, back and back and back.
And forward and forward and forward.
I really have no words to describe this experience further. Everything I write sounds like a cliché but this is the real deal, an event worthy of worship and celebration.
So many times we never see the fruit of our labor. We scatter seeds but often we get so discouraged or we give up altogether, thinking we will never make a difference.
Here’s the truth: Not every seed spouts.
But those that do? The fruit they bear is ripe and good and heavy with the testimony of God’s faithfulness.
Keep pressing forward my friends; keep fighting the good fight; keep resisting the weariness in doing the right and good things.
Do you have a Seed Story or Fruit Story to share?
Do you have a story of celebration?
Share your thoughts below or on TheBamBlog FB page!