“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
I’m sitting in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, waiting to see if my flight will be delayed again. Maybe this is what I get for not taking my day off and traveling on a Sunday instead of staying home with my wife. Or sometimes stuff just happens. All I know is that my flight now leaves (theoretically) at 7:15pm, and I have an hour and a half drive after that to some backwater in the Texas panhandle.
Corporate credit cards and expense reports; just another way of saying you don’t get to sleep in your own bed tonight.
But I digress…slightly. You see, this morning’s sermon was about Jesus’ lesson on vines, fruitfulness (productivity), pruning, and getting cut off if we aren’t with the program. The stewardess on the first leg of today’s travels noticed a book I was reading, and we had a short chat on it. The lady next to me weighed in also. I took the opportunity of that conversation to do a little sharing and witnessing. For all I know they may be Christians already. They sort of felt that way.
So I told them both about The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller. Check my archives; you’ll see I did a book review series on it. Very briefly, it analyzes archeological finds as the pertain to and evidently support the Book of Exodus as written.
If those ladies aren’t Christian, I hope it gives them something to think about (I told them what it’s about). If they are Christian, it will help support their faith and give them something to talk about to, perhaps, non-Christians. The latter purpose was my goal when I taught a two month Sunday morning class on it.
The second book I told them about was mine, The Substance Hoped For, available at authorhouse.com. It’s Christian fiction as a treatise on faith set against the Christmas story. I figured why not turn a couple of readers on to Christian books?
So I was working on bearing a little fruit. I would’ve passed on those books anyway, but today’s sermon was ringing in my head.
Jesus wants us on his team. It’s a team where only you bench yourself. “Coach” puts EVERYONE in. If you fail to take the field, well, you might be cut – literally – from the Team (read “Vine”). Block, tackle, score, and CONTRIBUTE! Play hard, you get pruned – coached into doing better and more. Jesus wants players, not bench-warmers.
Let’s go back to the cut thing for a second. Some people believe “Once saved, always saved.” I don’t, and I have one word for you; Judas.
The fate of humanity lies on the balance, and Jesus tells us He has no room for dead wood. But let’s make it more immediate. How do you feel about a friend or relative going to hell? One you like, that is. Except we should love everyone like He did. Imagine your favorite person who is not a Christian burning and cursing your name for eternity, because you never said a Word to him or her about Jesus. If you get cut from the team for non-participation, he/she might be doing it to your face.
But think of the joy of seeing people in heaven you had a hand in getting there! Imagine a smiling Jesus approving of your efforts and basking in that eternal smile.
Bear fruit. Whether out of fear or fulfillment – and maybe a healthy combination of both – bear fruit. You’ll get pruned, which may be unpleasant as the Gardner cuts away parts of you not needed. But it beats getting thrown in the fire with the weeds.