The Lord showed me something about the current state of the church in the west this morning and I felt led to share it with you today. This is the vision he shared with me.
He showed me a pastor as an apple tree and the congregation as people gathered around the tree. Everyone sat and waited until the tree bore fruit. Then each person went to gather the fruit and he showed me the different reactions of each person that responded.
One person rejected the fruit completely. That person hardened themselves to the message and left, empty-handed.
Another person took just enough fruit for themselves and was content for a time. The Lord showed me that it was different for every person. Some ate their fruit and were hungry again before they even left the field. Others were wiser and rationed the fruit so that it lasted longer. But, in the end, they all returned to the tree the following week to eat again because they had become hungry.
A different person took a basket up to the tree and filled it with apples to share with others. This person was wiser than the others because they were thinking of those that had not eaten from the tree. So, they were able to share their apples and bring more people to the tree to eat.
The last person was the wisest of them all and after eating the fruit thought to themselves, “I want to be like that tree.” So, that person allowed themselves to be planted in the Lord’s presence to grow and bear their own fruit. Thus, the garden grew and was able to feed more people.
Unfortunately, it seems that most people fall into the first three categories. Especially, the second category that only took enough fruit for themselves. Now, I don’t say this out of condemnation, there is a time for new believers to eat and grow before they move on to deeper things. But, what about those that have been going to service for say… five years? Ten years? Twenty years? And they still only feed themselves from the tree of another. They boast about how they follow this or that Pastor. Or this or that Prophet. Or this or that Author.
Paul made a similar observation in the book of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 3, starting on verse 1:
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours,22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
I’ve noticed so much competition among members of the body about who they follow, many bouncing from service to service, defending this or that pastor, or following a prophet, evangelist, author, etc. even if they are wrong, looking for a new man or woman to follow when we are called to follow Jesus Christ. What good does it do to always be eating the fruit of another if you never bear your own fruit? For those that hear the truth and never apply it to their own lives are doing just that!
If this message speaks to you then allow yourself to be planted! What if God has placed you in your situation because the fruit you bear is what those around you need? What if they don’t need an apple right now? What if they need a pear and you’re a pear tree waiting to blossom? After all the church is not a building or a weekly service, we are the church.
Let your roots grow deep into the Lord’s presence. Go to the secret place. God wants to speak to you directly. Take the time to listen to Him and you will never go hungry again.
I believe God placed this message on my heart to be my first writing as a reminder that while you may find some delicious fruit here nothing can compare to experiencing God firsthand. Go to Him.