Choosing a word of the year is all the rage. But it’s not me. It’s not how I think, plan. I don’t like to do things because others are doing them. I don’t want to label myself with a word, forget about it, and live out the year.
But a word came anyway, despite my objection that I don’t do words of the year.
The word came down from God the Father, giver of good and perfect gifts who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1). The word settled, and I knew it was not my own thought but the Spirit’s.
So I looked up scripture about fruit and fruitfulness. First in the concordance? “Be fruitful and multiply….” Been there, done that (I have two children), and I’m pretty sure that’s not the point the Lord is trying to make with me (remains to be seen, I guess!).
After the fruitful and multiply verses comes the tree imagery. The roots that go deep and seek out the water, causing the tree to bear fruit through heat and drought.
“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
Fruitfulness begins with trust, and it ends . . . never, if trust is placed in the Lord. The fruit comes and comes, despite the conditions around the tree, because the Lord nourishes the tree and prospers it.
We may not know the nature of the fruit, how the Lord will use us in his kingdom, and we might not be aware of when that fruit is blooming, but we can know that the fruit is there. A tree whose roots reach for the water does the work of fruit-bearing. And a life that reaches into the heart of God–the abiding work of John 15–is a life that thrives even in suffering. In heat. In a climate of barrenness.
A trusting life leads to rootedness, leads to being fearless, leads to being fruitful. That’s a thought I can chew on the entire year.
Your turn: do you have a word, thought, or scripture for the year?