My husband Kevin is an avid fan of our backyard, side yard, and front yard. In his opinion, these are the best parts about our house. So along the back of our driveway is our little “orchard in the hood.”
We have quite a selection of dwarf fruit trees: 2 lemon, 1 orange, a 5-in-1 (peach, plum, nectarine, etc., all grafted into an apricot trunk), 2 Asian pear, and 1 grapefruit.
Of all these trees, one definitely stands out. Our grapefruit, by far the smallest of the dwarf trees, stands a proud three feet tall. But unlike all of our other trees that are sending branches far and wide, this little plant has eight large grapefruits growing on it. Eight!
And so God has been speaking to me through this little plant. “Jen, size isn’t everything. Fruitfulness is what matters.”
I must admit that some days it’s been hard for me to see how God is going to grow our little fellowship of a dozen students into a ministry that can actually reach thousands of commuter students at California State University, Los Angeles. But whenever I feel discouraged, God brings me back to our little grapefruit tree.
So I’ve been praying, Lord, make us like this grapefruit tree. We may be small, but would you bear much fruit in these students.
And now I see signs of God’s faithfulness. Last fall we started with no student leaders. I prayed that God would raise up five strong student leaders by the end of spring quarter. This past Sunday we gathered four students who are stepping out in leadership for the first time in our ministry. They’re learning how to teach the Scripture and how to build relationships of influence with their peers. This will be the first time that CSULA students are teaching Bible studies!
That’s not all. I feel like there’s been some kind of a spiritual breakthrough and that Jesus is honoring the years of suffering and perseverance that the previous staff have poured out. God is bringing new students (first-year students, transfers, and even seniors who are wrapping up their last quarter of classes) who are committing to the ministry and are eager and hungry for growth. One student takes public transportation to campus (two hours one-way). He works a full eight hours on the other side of the city, and then rides the bus to our fellowship meeting. He is our Zaccheus (Luke 19) who goes to great lengths to be near Jesus. So even though we are still relatively small (12-15 meet each week), our gatherings are full of energy and excitement and joy. Size isn’t everything.
Jen Blue is a campus staff member at California State University, Los Angeles.