The book starts with a story about a girl with no name in 2 Kings 5. I’m ashamed to say I have no memory of this particular girl. I love reading and hearing about amazing stories and find out they are actually from the Bible. These authors and speakers make the stories so vivid, I could imagine them on big screens in the cinema (Exodus: Gods and Kings, anyone?)
The key words of the book are obvious: “frontline” and “fruitfulness”. According to the author’s definition, frontline = “a place or a time where we meet fairly regularly with people who don’t know Jesus”; and fruitfulness = the result of a godly life. Fruit is “anything that brings glory to God”. So ultimately, it’s a book teaching people how to live a godly life in the world.
There are plenty books on this subject. How did I pick this one up? Firstly, it was displayed on its own, on a shelf in our church book store, at eye level. Secondly, I was a bit frustrated by work at the time. Work takes up most of my time, daily, weekly, yearly, until I’m retired. But I don’t think what I do is helpful to people and useful to God. I spend a few hours at church each week volunteering. If that’s the only time I’m doing useful things and being meaningful, my life looks pretty hopeless. Other people might have opposite situation but similar questions: “I work full time for church with Christians around me. The time that I actually have contact with non-Christians is only a few hours a week, including shopping and taking buses. No one gets to know Jesus because of me. Am I bearing any fruit at all even I’m working for a church?”
Feeling a bit confused and discouraged, I looked for something helpful to read. I got Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavour at the same time which I think answers my questions about work better. But I was encouraged a lot by Fruitfulness on the Frontline.
For example, in the chapter “Bananas are not the only fruit”, I learnt that evangelism is not the only way to bear fruit. It’s not the only thing that matters to God. I must have learnt this before, but somehow this book lit up the bulb in my mind.
The book suggests that readers identify their frontline first of all and summaries six ways that people can be fruitful on their frontline: model godly character, make good work, minister grace and love, mould culture, be a mouthpiece for truth and justice, be a messenger of the gospel. Real life examples from the author and ordinary people are weaved in with bible passages and gospel messages. Each chapter has a prayer, some discussion questions and book recommendations at the end.
After reading it, I heard that our church is going to read this book and discuss related topics in Home Groups in the coming months. Whoever chose it must have thought it was a good book as well.