ARE WE FIT FOR THE FRUIT
Updated: Mar 12
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5
For many of us we have seen fruit that has been growing on a vine or from a tree. I remember growing up that my grandparents had an apple orchard. I remember grabbing apples that were not yet ripe and taking a deep bite and tasting the bitterness of the apple. I remember walking and being very careful because of the fruit that had fallen off of the tree that was rotting and swarming with bees. I remember climbing to the top of the tree and grabbing the one that looked perfect. I remember sinking my teeth into it and tasting the perfect taste of the apple. It completely blew my mind that there were so many apples that all were in different stages of their ripening or rotting. I guess in my small mind, I thought that they should all be going through the same process at the same time. I never really understood at that time the process of growth time and pruning, but I have really come to see it in a different way now that I have gotten older and applied it to my spiritual life. Just like the apple tree from my youth, I am walking through an orchard and seeing fruit/people who are in their early stages and still a little bitter... people who have ripened and are ready to be picked, and those that have lived an entire life missing out on the Words that have been planted in their life and now in their journey they are rotting from the inside out.
I hope and pray that I was able to give you a very strong imagery of the stages of our journey during this Lenten season. I hope and pray that maybe some of you could see, smell and possibly taste the message I was trying to provide for you this morning. I know that it may blow your mind that we have this potential in our lives to not only be a fruit but to be in charge of an orchard. As we continue to think through our spiritual growth, God is not only pruning us, but is using us to plant seeds in others that God is calling US to nurture, prune and pick when they are ready and ripe to start their own orchard. One of our goals in life is to
begin taking our focus off of our growth and realize that God has called to not only be a disciple but to make disciples. We should be dedicated to making sure that we are developing our lives to pour into others in order that they too will pour into others. I know that may seem crazy because for a lot of us we are truly just fighting to get it right in our lives and now you are asking us to multiply. Come on Jason, you have to understand that there is just not enough time in the day for me to do that for someone else. And the one thing I can say is that someone else thought the same thing about you and me and just know they were able to find the time to produce fruit because when they stopped looking at their plans and focused on God's plans, it was amazing just how much more they were able to do.
Jesus is trying to be as blunt and honest as possible as He is speaking to the disciples and to us in John's scripture this morning. We all know that Jesus is the true vine that connects us to God who provides for us all of the nourishment that we will EVER need. Jesus is our direct access to the life-giving power of God. And yes, we all have things in our lives that need to be pruned. But God is able to see past the rotting fruit and the weeds and see the ability that we all have to invite, encourage, pray for, stand beside, teach, learn from, etc. We have been given so many pruning tools that need to be used for God's plan and not hidden in the tool shed to become rusty and eventually useless. Christians should be in the fruit making business and it all starts by making plans each day to be in the Garden. You cannot be a farmer if you are not able to walk amongst the rows of seeds that you have planted. We cannot rely on the fact that someone else can come into our gardens and nurture and prune the fruit that God has given to us. So YES, we have to recognize that God has given us our family as our starter garden. We have seeds that have fallen from our trees and will follow in our footsteps, regardless if we want them to or not. They see what we do and how we react and they are nurtured by our actions. So even if we don't want to be a gardener we are and even if we don't realize it we are pouring into them and pruning them either to see more of God or the world based on our actions.
We have such a great opportunity to change the world one person at a time if we will just step into their lives the way God has stepped into our lives. There is something about watching fruit develop and then eventually multiplying to form their orchard that will blow your mind. From one seed, thousands of lives can be impacted in one way or another. They will either be setup for success or they will be set up to be pruned and cut away. Jesus was very candid and honest and I need us all to hear that. We cannot bear pure fruit if we are doing it for ourselves. We MUST be attached to the nourishment of the VINE. Don't be
surprised if people we are around are bitter and hard if we are bitter and hard. Don't be surprised if people are fading away and rotting on the vine because we have not paid enough attention to when they were ready to be picked and sent forth. Being the one that is in charge of the orchard is a hard job, but God would have never given us that opportunity if we were not called or ready to do it. It is a stressful job that starts early in the morning and may go into the late hours of the night. It is a 24/7 calling. There are times of rest but not times we can take off until the harvest has been reaped. We should have our baskets ready to fill and empty each and every day. We are filling into those that are still in need of guidance and emptying those who are ready to take a step the world and watch the fruit that is being grown in their orchard. Remember that all the orchards are connected to the vine. Only through God can we bear fruit and without God we cannot. Open our hearts today God to see and recognize the different stages of those on this spiritual journey with us and help us to prune and nurture in the way You have done that for us. Father, Here I am. What can I do for You today? Amen.