I preached a really good sermon one time. It started out as a communion teaching. Never satisfied with the typical teaching on communion, I launched off into a metaphor of baking bread. Since there are two elements involved in communion, I thought this was a good place to start. I went on and on about the process of baking bread. I talked about how God brings all the ingredients together. I talked about how there are times for the yeast to ferment. That involves waiting. I talked about the mixing and the kneading. I shared that we don't like the kneading or pounding. Nevertheless it is part of the process.
I compared the bread to us as the body of Christ and how God is forming us into a unified whole. I got off into holiness and wholeness. I was on a roll. Then came the fruit and nuts. Have you ever noticed who when God is forming His people into a body, the body to be broken for the world how he always seems to have to add those fruits and nuts.
You know who they are. You have them in your church. If you don't go to church, you know them in your fellowship groups. They are found where ever Christians gather. Maybe you are one? I have been thought of as the fruit or nut in a church.
I have been telling a story on another blog about the healing of our son. It was one of those fruits that was being kneaded into a body of believers who had faith for healing. You can read about it here.
Finally, all the ingredients in the bread get thrown into the fiery furnace. Have you ever noticed that when it comes to growth and usefulness in the Kingdom of God, the Bible always uses a metaphor of a painful process. There's the potter's wheel. At first you think you are on a good ride at the carnival but then starts the pounding and the stripping away. Then just when you think your ready to get off, the Potter will pound you down again because He won't let even that one imperfection stay if you are going to be useful.
Or there is the pruning metaphor, God the ever perfect gardener, prunes away until you feel like you have nothing left. I heard a woman last week talk about sucker shoots on her tomato places. If you are going to have the good fruit of tomatoes, off come the sucker shoots. I had to laugh. I thought how like God. Sometimes you think - oh look at my new spiritual growth. Then He comes along and says sucker shoots as He pinches it off.
If we are going to be fruitful we have to go through the process. If we are going to be the body of Christ, we have to be kneaded and baked. It's not fun. But it is necessary to be fruitful. How is God making you more fruitful?