Psa. 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psa. 1:4 ¶ The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Last week I began praying through the Psalms after devotions (praying through Scripture keeps my mind on track) and partway through Psalms 1:3 became extremely convicted. The idea of “fruit” led me to thank the Lord for people who were growing spiritually as a result of the ministries of Tabernacle Baptist Church or its outreach programs. I began “Lord thank you for working in _________” but had a hard time thinking of anyone (particularly children I work with) who display true spiritual fruit.
Now the kids I minister display good works
- They come to church or Bible club
- Have a strong knowledge of Scripture
- And will be on their best behavior
- But at the same time, few of those children display true fruit
Many of them cannot give a strong testimony of Salvation and tell me they are going to Hell
Few read the Bible for themselves daily
And they spend much of their time in Church talking, sleeping, or not paying attention
So in reality instead of fruit, they are displaying dead leaves (“chaff” in Psalms 1:4) which will blow away when hardship enters life
Recognizing my children viewed dead leaves as fruit was convicting, recognizing my way of ministry developed dead leaves was heart-breaking.
Kneeling beside my bed I saw the children of Barrouaillie needed to be taught the hard truths of God’s Word through discipleship…while I fed them a diet of “The Jesus Storybook Bible” and “Jesus Calling” (editors note-I do enjoy using both of these books, but they give a very basic understanding of Scripture, and eventually should lead to deeper truths).
The Lord used that moment of conviction to reccomit myself to the ministry of discipleship (spiritual parenting) with one or two children instead of trying to reach as many as possible. Theres nothing wrong with reaching lots of people of course, but it usually means they receive a basic ministry (lets say 30 minutes a day) instead of intensive teaching within spiritual parenting.
It wasn’t fun realizing much of my ministry was dead leaves, but I am grateful for the wake-up call because it changed my goal from crowds to fruit.