Living the Truth (2)
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him. Genesis 26.12-14
Productive and fruitful
Undoubtedly to his great surprise and relief, Isaac survived his little charade before Abimelech, the king of Gerar, and was given the freedom to “be himself” among his unbelieving neighbors.
He seems to have learned the lesson. Once he got over the fear and embarrassment of failing to be honest about himself, Isaac was able to get on with his life in the midst of a people who did not know the Lord.
Isaac was a farmer; he worked the land and husbanded flocks of sheep. And, apparently, he was very good at what he did. He had the right knowledge and the excellent work ethic which made it so that everything he touched turned to shekels – his crops produced a hundredfold, his flocks increased greatly, and he was able to hire many of the locals to help him manage the abundance with which God rewarded his industry.
It is to Isaac’s credit that he did not allow the embarrassment he experienced before his unbelieving neighbors to cause him to withdraw from their midst or lay low in their sight. Instead, he got busy “being himself” and doing what God had created him to do. His hard work and wise oversight of the gifts God had given him enabled Isaac to become extremely productive and fruitful. He was the best farmer and the best businessman and the best neighbor in his community.
And his neighbors noticed.
Work your calling!
Here’s a second lesson for us as we take up the challenge of living the truth before a skeptical and unbelieving generation: We need to be ourselves and get busy cultivating the field and working the calling God has appointed us. We need to work hard and be diligent to use all the gifts and resources God has given us to realize His blessings and share them with others. We are commanded to be fruitful, to bring forth the virtues of the Spirit’s indwelling Presence, use His gifts to serve others, and to make disciples, calling others to faith in Jesus and helping them to grow in Him.
If we are truly being ourselves as new creatures in the Lord, then bearing fruit and making disciples will come naturally to us. We serve the best Master and so we want to be the best in everything we do to honor and glorify Him (1 Cor. 10.31).
Each of us has a sphere of influence, a Personal Mission Field (2 Cor. 10.13-16). Jesus has sent us to this Personal Mission Field in the same way the Father sent Him to the world (Jn. 20.21). Like Jesus and Isaac, we must take up the work appointed to us and labor to become fruitful for the Lord. In our Personal Mission Field Jesus calls us to seek the lost, befriend them, care about them, pray for them, do good works for them, and tell them the Good News of the Kingdom (Lk. 19.10). He commands us to work to become holy and to live in the light of the Lord (2 Cor. 7.1; Eph. 5.8-10). And He calls us to do everything we do heartily, as though we were doing it unto Him (Col. 3.23).
When we’re being ourselves in Jesus Christ, we will be careful and diligent in every good work, reaching out to meet the needs of others as we are able and demonstrating the love of Christ to them (Eph. 2.10; Titus 3.1, 8, 14). We will join with our fellow believers to boast about the Lord in worship and to let others see the power of our love for one another (Heb. 10.24; Acts 6.1-7). And we will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, using all the gifts and abilities He gives us to glorify God and make the nations disciples (2 Pet. 3.18; 1 Cor. 10.31; Matt. 28.18-20).
In short, like Isaac, when we’re being ourselves – who we truly are as new creatures in the Lord Jesus – we’ll be the best we can possibly be.
Occupy, grow, bear fruit
This is who we are, and this is what we’re called to do. We are the followers of Christ, the children of the living God, and just as the Lord assigned Isaac to prosper in Gerar, He has assigned each one of us to a Personal Mission Field, and He expects us to prosper and bear fruit there. God has gifted us with everything we need for productive and fruitful living, and He has sent us into the world to generate a return of glory on the investment of gifts and promises He has made in our lives (Matt. 25.14-30).
As followers of Christ, we are called to do all things for the glory of the Lord – to do the best and be the best we can in every situation, redeeming and making the most of our time so that Jesus is glorified in all we do (Eph. 5.15-17).
Like Isaac in a foreign country, Christians are called to occupy, grow, and bring forth fruit amid an unbelieving age. We can’t expect to be fruitful and multiply the ranks of the followers of Christ if we limit our “Christian activities” to our church groups or Christian friends only, concealing our true identity when we’re out and about among the unbelievers of our age. We have work to do, and God is prepared to bless it abundantly.
All we have to do is follow the example of Isaac and do those excellent works that will glorify the Lord.
1. In what areas of your life are you presently working to improve your witness for the Lord?
2. What does it mean for you to "occupy and bear fruit" in your Personal Mission Field?
3. Our witness for the Lord is both words and deeds. Explain.
Next steps: Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video, then download the worksheet and get started. You can also sign-up to receive our monthly Personal Mission Field Workshop to help you hone your skills.
T. M. Moore
Help your friends get started working their Personal Mission Fields as well. Order copies of The Gospel of the Kingdom and Joy to Your World! for your friends. You can order these free resources by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.