Evaluate recent results. Focus on fruit. Teach the gospel.

Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.  If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

This text appeared on a panel for a devotional thought. It suggests evaluating the last several months in one’s activities to see where fruit has been produced and focusing more on those areas. The exercise may not be as simple as it sounds, but is a worthy effort. The idea is to go where the results are.

Some qualifications may be necessary, however. The teaching of the gospel is a given, in every ministry in the Lord’s church. We may reconsider how best to do that, what methods (if we may call them such) are most effective, what tools may help us most in the effort, but as the only true mission for Christians, salvation must be presented to the lost and the faithful must be edified in their faith and mission.

Another possible qualification is to realize that a given effort or ministry will not consistently and constantly produce fruit over time. Often, a sustained effort is necessary so that, in the proper season, fruit may be born. The cycle of sowing, cultivating, and reaping may be important to observe. A moment of non-productivity is not necessary a motive to abandon the effort. What is not producing results today may well produce them tomorrow.

Mass media is sometimes touted as the final answer to world evangelism. It is important. I use it constantly. But nothing can replace the personal relationship. Jesus chose to come to this world at a time when there was no mass media. He had no internet, no radio, no printing press. He chose a “method” of spending a few years with a select group of men. If he had used only a few months as a basis for evaluation, he would have rejected that method. Yet in a generation, the world was reached with the gospel.

And it can be again. We want to be fruitful. Let us evaluate carefully what we do, how we serve. But let us not conclude that the teaching of eternal salvation is not the key. Let us teach as we learn people’s needs and gain their confidence, so that they may see the reality of God in the lives of his children.

“He appointed twelve (whom he named apostles), so that they would be with him and he could send them to preach” Mk 3.14.

What do you think?