I’m generally a shy person – which I know some of you have a hard time believing. But when I’m in a large group of people, I’d much rather take up my position on the back wall and watch things, rather than walk around mingling.
But does God want us to be wallflowers?
One day I was reading Mark 11:12-21, and found myself thinking about the fig tree written about in the passage. Jesus is hungry, and as He and His disciples pass the tree they see that the leaves are sprouting, but there is no fruit.
Jesus curses the tree (v. 12-14), and the next day when they pass by, it had withered and died (v. 20-21).
This passage made me think of Jesus’ words in John 15:1-16. Here He is teaching His disciples the importance of bearing fruit, and how we must stay attached to Jesus – the True Vine – in order to bear that fruit, “fruit that will last” (v. 16).
But it’s difficult to bear fruit if you’re standing glued against the outer wall of an event, and don’t mix-in with the people He’s placed you with, isn’t it?
Not too long after we moved to Texas, my husband and I were serving as greeters at our new church. Suddenly up walked a gal who handed me a personal invite to an upcoming women’s Christmas party that she was hosting.
My first thought? I don’t want to be around a large group of women I don’t know!
I really wanted to say no, but the thought came to me that since she was kind enough to invite me personally, I should probably go. I knew she was very involved with women at the church, and since I really didn’t know many people, it might be a good opportunity to make some new friends.
I finally told her I’d attend, but when I got there I started to panic because her house was huge, and the number of women there was huge, as well.
Breathe, Linda, breathe.
We later split into small groups, and since it was an ornament exchange, we grabbed a gift to open and share with the women.
My gift was unusual: A bird’s nest with small eggs in it. I really didn’t know quite what to say.
Then I opened the card and read out loud what was written in it:
Psalm 40:3 – He put a new song in my mouth – a hymn of praise… Sing sister – praise Him… He’s doing new things in you… They’re awaiting the appointed time to be brought forward – be patient and sing a new song!
Then the person who had purchased the gift came forward and explained it for me. She pointed to the eggs laying in the nest, and reminded me that eggs don’t break open until the appointed time. She told me she believed that God has a special thing that He wants me to do, and I need to not be afraid, but sing and shout with praise!
I still didn’t fully understand, yet started weeping as I felt the love in the room from a group of mostly unknown women.
Fast-forward to today – 6 years later – and I’ve watched as to how God has continually cracked open egg-after-egg; bringing me people who need words of encouragement. They need to know – as I needed to know back when we first came to the church – that they are loved, and that God has special plans in store for them, just like He does for me.
“Bearing fruit” can mean so many different things, and that’s why God has gifted us all uniquely. He wants us to use those gifts – whatever they may be – to help others.
So don’t be a fig tree – stay firmly connected to the True Vine, and don’t be afraid! Take that bold step forward and trust God to direct you, just like I did when I attended that large women’s event years ago. Let Him show you great and marvelous things that you maybe never even dreamed of.