So greatly did the man of God abound in faith, that whomever he consecrated, the last day found persevering in good works.
- Jonas, Life of St. Columban, Italian, 7th century
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…”
- John 15.16
We underestimate the effect for good we are able to have on other people.
Or maybe we just don’t think that much about it?
One of the great promises of God is that He will bless us. That is, He promises to establish us in Him in a relationship of transforming grace, truth, and joy. He reveals Himself so that we may know Him, and knowing Him, find fullness of life and joy. God further promises that He will make us a blessing to others, that He will reach or speak through us to touch others with His grace and truth. God can use us in everyday, ordinary ways to bring the touch of His favor and transforming power to the people around us (Gen. 12.1-3).
And in some of those people, that touch could have powerful and lasting effects.
I rather doubt that most of us think of our daily lives in this way. Most of the people we encounter during the day are so familiar to us that we don’t consider bearing any fruit of love to nourish and refresh their souls.
Perhaps this is because we’re not sinking our roots deeply enough into the Lord each day. If we don’t see the people around us with the mind of Christ, we won’t have the heart of the Lord to reach out to them with His grace and truth. Loving our neighbors as Jesus would will not be a priority for us unless the mind, heart, and conscience of Christ are being formed and growing in us daily.
But make spending time with the Lord each day your first priority, and the blessings you discover there will build up in you and pour out through you in ways that can make a lasting touch of grace on others (Jn. 7.37-39).
Men like Columbanus prove that Jesus can bring lasting fruit through us. But such fruitfulness takes faith on our parts, to spend time with Jesus, learn to see others as He does, and take whatever next steps will allow us to touch them with His grace and truth.
Jesus invested His life in twelve humble men, and through them the great project of the Christian faith has spread to all the world. He bore lasting fruit in them, and they, through the gift of His Holy Spirit, bore lasting fruit with the people of their generation.
This is the kind of abiding impact Jesus has in mind for each of His followers.
Whom will you touch today with the grace of God? Who will be so affected by some act of thoughtfulness, or some timely word on your part, that a permanent change will come into their attitude, outlook, or way of life?
Being a blessing to others begins in being blessed by the Lord.
Seek the Lord earnestly each day in His Word and prayer. Linger there before Him, with the mindset of Jacob, refusing to let go of the Lord or to conclude your time with Him until He blesses you (Gen. 32.26). But be ready: Some of those “blessings” – like the one Jacob received – may hurt, as the Lord exposes sin in your life or challenges you to show His love to someone you’d rather not.
Pray that God will use you to bear fruit toward others. Pray that your example, your teaching, your ways and words will so affect others, that they will turn with great joy to the Lord in order to gain more of what they have experienced in you (Mic. 4.1-5).
Call upon the Lord to bless you; then listen as He guides and empowers you to be a blessing to others. Who knows what lasting fruit might result?
Is this unrealistic? Overly ambitious? I don’t think so. I think we should rather view such fruitfulness as normal, and where it is absent, as something diligently to be sought.
But the lasting fruit we may bear toward others requires the fruit we gain from the Lord in our time together with Him, seeking His blessing for each day.
1. What can you do to make your time with the Lord each day more a means of blessing to you?
2. How can you pray about the day ahead to prepare yourself to be a blessing to others?
Psalm 51.10-13 (Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Create in me a clean heart, renew me from within!
Take not Your Spirit from me because of all my sin.
Salvation’s joy restore, Lord, and keep me in Your hand;
thus shall I tell Your strong Word to sinners in the land.
Lord, use me for Your glory, and give me the joy of seeing others affected by Your love as I…
Look to Jesus
Jesus Christ, exalted in glory, is our Pillar; and He is working for us every day. Our challenge is to keep focused on Him. Our newest book, What in Heaven is Jesus Doing on Earth?, can help you in this discipline. Order your copy by clicking here.
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Jonas, p. 85.