Devotion and Prayer for Week of October 16, 2011

Meditation for the Week of October 16, 2011

 

I’ve been a suburbanite for as long as I can remember.  I’m not big city, nor am I rural farmer but that didn’t stop God from sending my family and me to south central Nebraska to live for a year.  Needless to say it was quite a change.  It was fun and even entertaining to see the expressions on people’s faces when I’d tell them I didn’t know the first thing about farming.  In that area of the country it’s just taken for granted.  It seems everyone is connected in some way to the soil of the earth.

 

However, it only took short time to come to appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare plant, grow and ultimately harvest good fruit.  Without the involvement of the farmer the seed isn’t going to get planted.  Without his care it isn’t going to grow.  Left by itself it is bound to be choked by the weeds or eaten by bugs.  It is only because that seed remains attached, in sense, to the farmer that it can grow and bear fruit.

 

Jesus makes a similar claim about himself in John 15:5, he says, “I am the vine and you are the branches.  Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit.  But you can’t produce anything without me.”  False Christians often times struggle with this passage because they don’t quite know what it is saying.  They look at others and say to themselves, “What kind of Christians are these people?  All they do is eat and drink, raise their children, or plow a field.  We can do that and so much more.”

 

Their measure of Christian fruit is found in doing something special, above the ordinary tasks of life.  They stand like the Pharisees on the corner so all can see them pray, drawing attention to themselves.  They make known the amount of time and money they give to the church, falsely believing that these are the things that lead to a holy life.  They look to external appearances and don’t consider the source of their works-whether they grow out of the vine.

 

But in this passage, Christ says that the only works that are good fruit are those accomplished by people who live in him.  What believers do and how they live are considered good fruit, even if these works are the common tasks of raising children or plowing a field.  Those false believers can’t understand this because they see them as ordinary tasks.  But there is a big difference between a believers works and an unbelievers works even if they do exactly the same thing.  For the unbelievers works don’t spring from the true vine-Jesus Christ.

I once heard from a wise teacher that Christ not only came to save us, but He came to save our works.  As Christians all that we do and say springs forth from the vine of Christ.  Our motivation is not to impress others but only to live and do as Christ would have us do.  He gave up His life so that you and I might have ours.  It is out of His gift of grace that we are able to bear fruit.

Our Weekly Prayer

        Lord of the Harvest, continue to feed me each day with Your live giving Spirit.  Tend me and cultivate me so my life might bear fruit.  Bring me opportunities to serve others in the name of Christ, and if it pleases you, to use me as an instrument to bring others to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Amen.