Scott Rae, the chair of the philosophy department here at Talbot, gave a talk on vocation at the beginning of this semester. Tim Pickavance, a philosophy professor, said something along the lines of “Your ministry right now is to be a student. Don’t think of your ministry as something that you will do sometime in the future. God may be using this time in your life to grow you so that you can bear fruit in the future.”
This reminds me of what I read in one of the High Quest booklets I read for the Men of Impact ministry at my old church.
Much of the process goes on unseen and unappreciated as God’s Spirit gently develops our inner life which will, at the proper time, reveal his work in fruitfulness. You may be in a season of deepening roots rather than obvious fruit bearing, but be patient; God will produce the fruit if you abide in him.
–His Calling (p. 130)
I often struggle because I don’t feel like I’m bearing the fruit that I ought to be bearing. Christ said to make disciples of the nations (Matt. 28:19-20), but I don’t feel like I’ve done much of anything in the last six years that I’ve become a Christian. Not only that, I don’t feel anywhere near competent enough to be in any way effective in ministry. This can produce feelings of guilt. That’s why it’s comforting to hear things like this. There are times where we are bearing fruit and we don’t realize it and there are times that God uses to grow us and deepen our roots so that we bear fruit later on in life. As Paul says, his sufficiency comes from God (2 Cor. 3:5). This has helped me to be more gracious and patient with myself.