Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing. Psalm 92:13-14
Inspired by the Psalmist’s promise, I am burdened today with two related concerns: 1) the addition of covenanted church members to our local congregations and 2) the fruitfulness of our current members. The Contemporary English Bible renders this passage: “They will take root in your house, Lord God, and they will do well. They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful, even when they are old.” How would you like for your church to be full of such vibrant life? For new people who are hungry seekers of the Lord to join with your church in committed membership? To be “planted” as fruit-bearing vines among you? The key, I believe, is for those of us who were “planted” long ago to bear increasing fruit as we age. No wise farmer would want to plant his seed in a barren field or in a place where stubborn mules are allowed to tramp about unsupervised. Instead he would look for a field that is still fertile, for a place where the mules are rendered harmless behind a fence. Psalm 71:17-18 describes the kind of aging members who will leave their church stronger than they found it: “O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, your power to everyone who is to come.” Can we pray that newcomers will find such vibrant life and faithful witness in our churches that they will want to be planted alongside us?