A Lesson from the Field (literally): Bear Fruit to Bless Others
The agricultural world gives us what I call the “fruit tree concept.”
By Philip Tolman, missionary in Mexico
It’s actually a biblical principal. You could say that a tree produces fruit for its own survival: without the seeds in the fruit there is no reproduction. But if we look closely, we find that a tree produces much more than it needs only to reproduce. It doesn’t eat or sell the extra. It gives it away. A fruit tree lives to bless others.
Missions is a “giving away” concept too. “Missions-minded” means living to bless others, not yourself. For years Mexico has been a receiving society, always looking to the north for handouts. We are trying to ingrain this fruit tree concept into our members, teaching them to support mission work in other countries so others can be blessed. A tenth of the giving in our churches goes to mission work outside our local congregations. Instead of being a receiving church, we can be a giving church, with God as our supplier.
We’ve definitely seen the benefits in our youth ministry. Instead of struggling to entertain our youth to keep them coming to church, we teach them to reach out to their community. They learn to win souls and do good works for others.
At the end of 2016 the mayor of Xalisco invited our youth to present the Gospel in the town square. The young people prepared and performed mini-dramas that shared the message of salvation. They themselves were blessed in doing so. And they come back.
Philip Tolman co-directs Seedtime and Harvest Ministries in Mexico with his brother, Stephen.
In the last two years, Seedtime and Harvest churches have sent missionaries to the Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia, and other parts of Latin America. As a result, lives have been transformed at home and abroad. Support Seedtime and Harvest Ministries here .
How have you seen the fruit tree concept work in your church? How can you or your Christian community bear fruit to bless others?