Day: Friday, September 16th
Time: 1:30 pm
Place: Mom’s house
What happens if you have a tree that is laden with fruit but has not roots? The wind will come and blow it right over causing the fruit to die.
We have to be grounded in Jesus. We have to tend to our roots as much as we do producing the fruit or we will never survive this little thing we call life.
Roots = our faith and our relationships with Christ
Fruit = our good works: the things we do for Christ
Both are important. In fact the Bible says faith without works is dead, but what good does it do to have faith if we do nothing about it? We might have faith that God will provide all of our needs, but if we never give what we have to the needy do we really have faith? We might have faith that we can do all things in Christ who gives us strength, but if we don’’t step out to do something bigger than ourselves that requires God’‘s power to accomplish, what good is having faith?
Furthermore, what is the purpose of good works if they are not grounded in Christ? Do you do great works to get something in return, for recognition, for personal satisfaction to just feel good about yourself, to please someone else, or to fill a void?
“”I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department; I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.”” (James 2:18 the Message )
Our culture has taught us to focus on what other people can see…. How we look, what job we have, what car we drive, what we are accomplishing, what we are doing, where we live , etc…
I will never forget a story Tim Elmore told at the National Leadership Forum.
Tim was pouring all his time into creating the perfect program for his students and doing a multitude of good things. His work (the fruit) had become his identity. He said he began to resent meetings, his attitude went sour, he got irritated and was short on patience, and he was exhausted all of the time. “”I was hiding behind the noble act of teaching, feeling like a martyr. As stupid as this may sound, I thought it would look selfish to take some downtime for myself.””
He said it all came to a climax one afternoon when he was home alone in the house he moved into two years prior. The front yard was perfectly manicured (as put in by the builders), but the back yard (left to the homeowners) had not been touched. It was nothing but rock, dirt, and tumbleweed… and thankfully there was a fence to hide it!!!
“”On that afternoon, I stood looking out of my sliding glass window at my back lot, thinking I should really put in a lawn. In that moment, it all suddenly dawned on me. A reality hit me like a load of bricks: I had treated my life like I had treated my lawn. Over the next few minutes, the layers of this reality unfolded. My front lawn —the part that everyone can see —looked marvelous. The grass, bushes and trees were all beautiful. Similarly, my public role as a teacher was great: my lesson plans, my style, my teaching techniques, my programs. The show was good. But the back area,— the private part, —was dirt. And I neglected it because no one could see it. Ouch. In that moment, I realized I couldn’t sustain my current mode of operation. I was obsessed with my public work, but it was not coming out of the overflow of a full private life. I was a starving baker.””
Starving bakers: —so close to food, yet never eating
We have access to food for our soul any time of the day we want it, but in the busyness of life we often put God on the back-burner because we are so busy doing good things and making sure we appear to have it all together.
Faith and Works, Roots and Fruit, go hand-in-hand.
We have to take just as much time tending to the roots as we do doing the good works God called us to do. If you don’t, you will end up like I did – in a position where you find yourself with nothing left to give because you did not feed yourself properly.
This journey of mine has been focused on the “”back yard”” and the “”roots”” of my life. I felt selfish when I left and was worried about what everyone would think of me, but this has been the best thing I have ever done for myself.
My roots are growing stronger every day, and as I feed myself properly I see myself returning to the old me. Well…… the old and improved me. Happy, full of life, and excited to give again, but understanding that taking time to invest in God and myself is not selfish, but a vital part of life and I will NEVER go so long between spiritual feedings again.
It feels amazing to be Stuffed!
…but there is always room for DESSERT!!!
Looking forward to what God has in store for me next!