9th March 2013

Done-In Or Done Good?

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

We can easily feel frustrated when we see so many needy people in this world. Don’t we long to go and make a difference and help all the people in their sicknesses, their hurts, their poverty and their ignorance? Surely we can make the time. Surely we can find the energy, can’t we?

Let me tell you about our Oulins Golden Gage fruit tree that we planted at the end of our garden. It grew beautifully, but refused to produce any fruit. After waiting patiently for six or seven years we threatened it with Luke 13:7-9: we’d ‘dig and dung’ it, but it had to deliver the goods or it would be for the chop. I confess we rather neglected our part but nevertheless the next year it seemed as if every branch and twig was sprouting fruit and we looked forward to a magnificent crop. But just as the golden ovals were becoming sweet and soft and ripe, the sunny British summer behaved in its normal backstabbing fashion and, under cover of darkness, sent a gale. The next day our majestic tree lay fallen on the ground. We rescued what fruit we could and had to cut up and burn the wood. In doing so we discovered the problem; the tree didn’t have the root system to support the weight of its productivity. It had over-extended itself.

Though we had lost all our supply of fruit, we can at least take a leaf out of the sad story, because a super-busy ‘got-to-get-out-there’ Christian can be in just as much danger as our tree. If we try to do our own works, we will just wear ourselves out. We don’t have to save all the world; Jesus has already done it and he turned down the temptation to put all the wrongs right immediately.

It is true that God wants us to be fruitful (Titus 3:14, Colossians 1:10), even abounding in good works (2 Corinthians 9:8), but Paul told the Ephesians that it is God’s works that we are to be doing. Those deeds cannot be done in us, if we are ‘done-in’ ourselves. When we participate in the ministry of Christ, as he patiently and gently works in this suffering world, the rising sap of his life, through the Spirit, will produce in us fruit that we can bear. We may not be as big as other trees we can see but the fruits are the same, and rooted in Jesus we’ll have the strength that supports whatever we may be led to do.

Our Father, the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us complete in every good work to do your will, working in us what is well pleasing in your sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Study by Hilary Buck

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One Response to “9th March 2013”

  1. Ian Woodley on March 16th, 2013 9:45 am

    Hi Hilary, this Day by Day has been in my mind all week! A great reminder that we are participating in Christ’s ministry, rather than trying to persuade God to join our agenda. Great article!

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