If there is one thing I have learned it’s that everyone wants the fruit, but few want to labor.
I was young and serving as an unconventional youth pastor in Fort Myers, Fla. It was unconventional because we met in a roller skating rink and bussed kids in from the inner city. I loved getting to hang with students and share Jesus with them week in and week out. However, I had many passions in my life such as music and traveling that seemed so distant and yet important all at the same time. I remember meeting with several friends and expressing this tension. Some of my friends would tell me to quit the youth pastor gig and chase those passions. Some of my friends told me be faithful with where God had me and trust that whatever desires are from Him will survive. Both options had their own set of frustrations.
If I can just be really honest for a second, I would tell you that both options seemed like dead ends. I hated the idea of waiting. I think we all have seasons of waiting and not understanding why God’s promises seem so stale and powerless over our current situations. Here is a refreshing sip of God’s truth for your heart. Are you ready?
A piece of fruit is the result of harsh weather conditions, hot sun, overflowing amounts of water, deep roots and constant pruning.
God wants our lives to bear fruit. So he sends us through seasons of dependence and loving service to the people around us.
That roller skating season was setting me up for a new season. Sometimes the setup is for a new job, or a new relationship that will be formed, or for you to mature in your faith. Sometimes the setup is about deepening our dependence on Christ. I don’t always understand these seasons, but I have a deep conviction that they are for our good and for His glory.
One day a Christian hip-hop artist needed a cool location to film a music video called, “Stuck in the 80’s.” He reached out to the rink owner and she allowed him to film his video on location. Can you guess who was asked to serve him pizza? That would be me! He asked me to join him for overly cheesy pizza and we began a really cool relationship that day. A short time later, I auditioned to be his drummer and ventured into the world of music. I spent five years learning from “KJ52” and touring the country as his drummer.
It’s easy to hear that story and think that I was somehow deeply spiritual in knowing where God was leading me, but the truth is...I was lost! I just was crazy enough to keep working hard and committing every effort and ounce of strength I had to the Lord. I learned that serving God is less about service and is more about belief. When you believe in God, you serve Him and you obey Him even when others tell you to go a different direction. Oftentimes it's believing even when your own heart wants you to go a different direction. If you are serving God because you just want the blessing, you have already missed the blessing of serving God. Look at the end of this verse in Colossians.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
Who we serve is what makes this life so beautiful. It’s all for Jesus!
I was in an internship shortly after high school that afforded me some amazing opportunities. One of those opportunities was to serve bands when they came to preform at our church in Southwest Florida. It was another situation in which God gave me an opportunity to serve and do it with excellence. On one occasion, a brand new band called “Group 1 Crew” was performing and I was in charge of setting up and tending to their green room backstage. It would be a long time before I would see why God let me cross paths with “Group 1 Crew,” but I now I see it clearly. I currently serve as the drummer for “Group 1 Crew” and we are privileged to be on a tour right now with “Big Daddy Weave” and Tim Timmons. I am not telling you this so you can be impressed by something I have done. I want you to be encouraged in your current circumstances. Rather than praying for bigger opportunities, I challenge you to pray for the strength to treat every moment with excellence.
Our strength and security is in the who. Now before you get hasty in trying to correct my grammar, that wasn't a mishap. Who we serve is everything. We can trust in the promises of His word because the One who is making the promises is good for it. There is no doubt that the promisor will be faithful in honoring His word. He is for you and He goes before you.