Read Jeremiah 1:17-19
17 “Get up and prepare for action.
Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.
Do not be afraid of them,
or I will make you look foolish in front of them.
18 For see, today I have made you strong
like a fortified city that cannot be captured,
like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.
You will stand against the whole land—
the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.
19 They will fight you, but they will fail.
For I am with you, and I will take care of you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!” (NLT)
We are aware that we are called to be fruitful. Jesus reminds us that if we stick close to him and do things his way we will bear fruit. Results will follow. It is only natural that we jump to the conclusion that such ‘fruit’ will involve visible success, measurable results. Do things Jesus’ way and things will fall into place.
We need to rethink. Particularly in the light of people like Jeremiah. He was told to remind God’s people of their covenant relationship with God and the consequences of breaking it. He warned them to return to God or face the consequences. The ‘fruit’ he bore was the dramatic destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of God’s people.
In one sense, Jeremiah’s mission bore no fruit. It didn’t result in what God desired. But that didn’t mean it was a failure. His job was to preach the message not guarantee its acceptance. He carried out his mission successfully even though the message failed to be heeded. He was successful because he was faithful, not ‘fruitful’.
Our task is to live in the ways of Jesus, to be obedient to what God may require of us in our present circumstances. The fruit may vary. But perhaps ‘fruit’ is more than ‘results’. In Jeremiah’s case, exile led to restoration. Corruption was purged, a faithful remnant was preserved.
So let’s aim to be fruitful, but be aware that fruit comes in various shapes and sizes.