Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Bearing Fruit

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15: 16,17

Although uniquely created by our Heavenly Father so that no two are exactly alike, we have this is common: “We are all called to bear fruit that lasts.” (Pastor Matt Leighty) It isn’t the vocation of a select few, pastors, evangelists or teachers, perhaps.  It is a calling we all have in common. Every single one-of-a-kind person will live a life that will bear witness to the fruit it has sown, and it will look as different as the individuals whose lives it represents. 

Jesus calls us to a life that will bear fruit that lasts - a life lived in a way that pleases and honors the Lord. I believe it’s something we all want to do, so much so we are apt to fall into the trap of comparison - a trap as old as time itself. We are prone to take our eyes off the One we say we want to please and begin to measure our worth against that of those around us. 

I’m old enough to remember the days before the internet, the days before we could capture every moment or construct pithy tweets and post them in the hopes of becoming a viral sensation. Yet even then, comparison was fully capable of rendering us hopeless, convinced that everyone else had more, looked better, achieved more and was more talented, smarter or popular than we. 

In the harsh glare of comparison, our small offerings look somehow diminished. We risk losing the fulfillment of becoming all God created us to be. The size or popularity of our offerings to Him matter not all. He looks deep within to see the intent of our hearts. In that soft, gentle light every act, no matter how great or humble, finds its true value.

The evangelist who speaks to thousands, the Dad who whispers prayers over his sleeping child, the worship leader who stands on the stage, the Sunday school teacher singing with her little group of toddlers, the star athlete who wins all the awards, the boy who carries his elderly neighbors’ groceries home, the famous artist who performs before great crowds, the mom who faithfully cares for her special needs child, the speaker who mesmerizes the crowd, the woman who goes every week to the Assisted Living to share the gospel with the elderly - all of these bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God, all of equal value and precious in His sight. 

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,

 you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25: 37-40