One definition of fruit is “the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food.” This is a wonderful way to describe the effect of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the lives and hearts of Christians who are serious about following Jesus.
In fact, Paul tells us that we have the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (Romans 8:23); that Jesus was “the firstfruit” of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20) as we await His return to become His firstfruits of the resurrection along with everyone else that belong to Him (1 Corinthians 15:23). In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul tells his audience that “God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” James echoes this insight as well in James 1:18 as he describes us as “a kind of firstfruits of all He created.”
ALREADY…BUT NOT YET LIFESTYLE
This ‘Already…But Not Yet’ Lifestyle is both fruitful evidence of the Spirit’s work in our lives and it the vehicle through which the Gospel’s seed is planted in the hearts of others to reproduce itself. So, it should not be surprising that when Paul talks about “the fruits of the Spirit” he is talking about the evidence of God’s working in our lives that is easily digestible and seed bearing.
Even as the Spirit begins to manifest itself in our own lives, it does so with a view to one-day bringing us out of the world of flesh, death and decay. At the same time, the fruit of our lives is an appeal to others to eat, enjoy and to multiply.
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As we prepare to conclude our study of Luke 9-19 we are once again confronted with the issue of riches and wealth. Reflecting on the journey to Jerusalem we remember that there was a rich landowner who foolishly planned to build bigger barns without considering the One who determined whether or not he would live to enjoy it (Luke 12:13-21). Then there was the rich young ruler who could not part with his wealth to follow Jesus (Luke 18:18-30). This parable says something to us about our wealth and its use from God’s perspective.
First, Jesus underlines how important it is that we use God’s financial blessings for the work of the kingdom. Ten servants are given a coin each with the instruction to multiply it’s value. We are told of three who were noteworthy in regard to their obedience and we assume the other seven recipients fell somewhere in between the extremes that the ruler discovered upon his return.
KINGDOMS AND KINGS
Second, Jesus refers to a king who goes away to be crowned king and then return to destroy those who refused to submit to his rule. Some have suggested that there had been a similar situation with Herod Archelaus that would be recalled in Judea’s recent history. From Christ’s perspective, however, what begins in Jerusalem with His suffering, death and resurrection will come to its climax when He returns.
FEAR OF FAILURE
Finally, there is the one servant who is afraid and who does nothing with the coin his master had given to him. God’s wealth is not given to be unproductively hoarded and hidden out of fear for losing it. In the parable he loses his mina to the one who was extraordinarily productive.
Kingdom people are risk takers whose investments range from those who make 1000% to 500% to others who will simply collect interest at the bank and profit at all points in between. The key is that the Gospel always bears fruit wherever it goes.
Every follower of Christ has a stake in growing the kingdom!