Did you know we eat “seedless (culinary) bananas” when we buy them in the stores? But the wild species have fruits with numerous large, hard seeds, virtually all culinary bananas have seedless fruits. (wikipedia.com)
There is a purpose to fruit having seeds. Fruit helps with the survival of a plant. They are the swollen ovaries of a plant and contain the seeds. Because they are usually edible, animals eat them, the seeds then pass through the digestive system and are deposited with some good fertilizer from the animal. Or if they are not eaten the decomposing fruit acts as a fertilizer after it has fallen to the ground. (per answers.com).
So the fruit serves no purpose without the seed, and the seed gets very little chance without the fruit. One thing that is not mentioned above is that the fruit also results in the seed being spread to more sites. We can equate the fruit to our actions and the seed to our words. I think that the words and actions of Jesus were a combined ministry of evangelism and benevolence (which in Jesus’ case included healing). I have observed that Christians often follow one of two primary methods of evangelism and benevolence. One is equivalent to only offering a seed to someone who’s hungry and saying that they will be fed when they’re able to harvest the fruit. The other is to offer seedless fruit, which means they will continue to be dependent. Neither method demonstrates a complete love that cares for both body and soul.
We need to relate to those outside (and inside) the church like fruit. A good quote to start with was made by St. Francis, who said “Preach the Gospel always . . . use words if necessary.” Another phrase used in evangelism is that “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Also James says that “. . faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (see James 2:14-17).
The quotes above say a lot about action. But we also don’t want to be handing out “seedless fruit”. We must also make sure our fruit contains the seeds of God’s words. Peter said, ”But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1Peter 3:15)”. Our actions (benevolence) should be a reflection of Christ’s compassion for the physical needs of hurting people. And just as Christ did, our witness needs to contain a seed of His Word that shows to people their need for salvation and Christian maturity.
Do you have a love for the lost? Are you willing to come along side those in need? Do you have a humbleness that lets those you are serving know that it’s Jesus in you that deserves the credit? Can you tell them your story? Can you answer their questions about Christ? Does your example hold up under scrutiny? Are you genuine in your concern for their spiritual and physical well-being?
Do you know our Savior well enough to reflect His instincts? Do you exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)? Notice that Jesus was the complete fruit. Observe from scripture how He genuinely cared (and wept) for people. He knew God’s Word and the intentions behind those words. He healed their bodies and challenged their souls. So likewise, let us be the good fruit that nourishes and propagates the spirit and salvation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us be humble enough to know we can do this, one-on-one with lost people in need, for God’s glory and not for the purpose of our recognition in the church.
As men we need to be involved in the process of evangelism and accountability to other men. Our families, our churches, and our communities will all be stronger as we follow Christ. And I think of the example to our children. Both sons and daughters need to see how our Christian values play out in life as they see us interact with our wives, children, neighbors, and others outside our homes.
As men we need to be mentors to other men who are not yet a Christian or mentor men who are struggling with life issues. When our sons would see us doing this they’ll not only realize the importance of the gospel, but that they can become mentors also.
Let us bring the fruit of God’s Word, but also plant seeds in the process. Many seeds will not germinate if just left on top of the soil. It’s when our actions ring true with scripture that the seeds will be planted. For it is the seeds that will fill a man’s soul more than just “the fruit”.
To reach the lost (who may really be lost in life) will require patience. There are experiences they’ve had that seem unreal. But in today’s society – nothing should be a surprise. Listen to what they say with the ears of Jesus and be inquisitive. They’ll know you’re interested and feel included in your life – something they may have not experienced before. And they’ll know how much you care instead of knowing how much you know.
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