Dec 23, 2014, 10:26 AM
« …those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
BEARING FRUITS ….. THAT LAST
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15.16)
Trees are identified by their fruits. We distinguish a mango tree by the fruit it bears and there is no gainsaying that. Our Lord Jesus draws an analogy from agriculture. Thus He was speaking a language that His audience could understand. If trees produce fruits as results for their existence, we also as human beings must produce fruits; in other words, positive results.
We are accountable for the lives we live on earth. We cannot afford to live it anyhow. Nobody comes to this world by accident. God’s master plan has a definite purpose and role for us to play. That purpose must be fulfilled, if we are to bear fruits. Our Lord Jesus calls us to a productive and effective life in the different areas of endeavour we have been called to operate in.
Why is Jesus so categorical about producing fruits? The response is found in His statement - “I chose you.” The selection was done by Him; therefore it was not done at random. It was done with the knowledge of what each and every one is capable of accomplishing. We get to know Jesus who is ‘the Way and the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6) because God has allowed it. “…no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” (John 6:65) Likewise the choice determines the objective for which God created us and for which we have been chosen.
We have not only been chosen but we have also been “appointed to go …” When someone is appointed then s/he is equipped to function in a particular position. That individual is provided with all s/he needs to get the work done. You cannot blame it on your tools, when things go wrong. Our Lord Jesus knows what we need and He provides them so that we might get the work done properly.
In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) our Lord Jesus recounted the story of a man who was to embark on a long journey. Prior to his departure, he called his servants and gave them assignments ‘each according to his ability.’ In the parable of the ten minas, the king summoned ten servants and gave them ten minas each, adding; “Put this money to work until I come back.” (Luke 19:13) On their return some had made good use of the talents and minas they had been given, others not.
Like the seeds sown by the sower in one of our Lord Jesus’ parable (Matthew 13), not every seed sown will develop to yield fruits of sixty, eighty and a hundredfold. The concerns and preoccupations of this world get in the way and productivity drops considerably, expectations likewise. In the same manner, not all who have been chosen to bear fruits will be fruitful.
There is a penalty though for this category of servants. The gardener, who is His Father, will come and “cut off every branch that does not bear fruit…” (John 15:1) For positive results we ought to stay connected to the vine otherwise we shall be likened to a branch “that is thrown away and withers; such branches are cut, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:6) The fruit-bearing vine gets special treatment; it is pruned so it can produce more fruit. Our Lord Jesus instructs that we ‘remain’ in Him. “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:18)
The Lord is willing to give a second chance to those who do not pull up their socks. “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil? “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ” (Luke 13:6-9) What a verdict! Yes, the axe will come down on any tree that does not bear fruit.
This is the story of our lives. When we seek to carry out our own agenda, we miss the mark and our lives become fruitless and useless because they do not serve the purpose for which God intended it in the first instance. Fruitfulness is a God-pleasing characteristic for every believer. It requires that we remain in Christ, the author and founder of our faith. When we fail to work according to His precepts, to abide in Him, we end up living worthless lives for which we shall be made accountable. Each and every one of us will have to render account on Judgment Day for our accomplishments. There is no way we can escape this.
Our Lord Jesus teaches that “By their fruits we shall know them.” (Matthew 7:16) Our deeds will always catch up with us. We shall be found out in the long or short run. “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16) Definitely not! So it is that a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree bad fruit. We cannot continue to do things our own way and expect God’s endorsement.
As we take our first steps in the year 2012, may we examine closely the kind of fruit we have borne during 2011 and seek to bear fruit in keeping with the word of God - fruit that will be visible and durable. May they be fruits for which the Father will say: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:23)