Monday, November 21, 2011
Fruit Can Rot On The Vine
As I sift through a mountain of emails, I’ve learned to quickly dismiss forwarded “junk mail,” even if it’s from people I consider friends. At the same time I learn to recognize which email “clicks” might actually reap spiritual blessing. When I get an email from a particular dear friend who works with the Navigators, I pay attention. A few years ago he forwarded an email of a quote passed along by one his friends. The blessing and challenge of that email made such an impact on me that I’ve saved it to this day. The email read:Oh goes on to look at the personal lives of leadership. Good stuff. But this profound observation also says something deep about the church.Years ago, I asked Jim Downing, one of the patriarchs of the Navigator work, “Why is it that so few men finish well?” His response was profound. He said, “They learn the possibility of being fruitful without being pure. . . they begin to believe that purity doesn’t matter. Eventually, they become like trees rotting inside that are eventually toppled by a storm.”
Consider for a minute - the church's first priority is not evangelism - it;s to make holy men and women. If evangelism is to truly work, I mean truly, then the cycle of flame out needs to be broken. In fact, I think it a worthy question to be asked if the fruitful but impure have even accomplished anything.
Purity, "maturity" is the term I prefer, requires time, study, mentoring - sacrifice, sacrament - a whole lot of stuff that is not present in the current dash to evangelize.
Any pure, mature Christian will evangelize by the nature of being pure and mature.