Bible Verse: I am the true vine…no branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine…if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. (John 15:1,4b, 5b)
Scripture Reading: John 15:1-17
I love the mission of God too much to love the mission of God too much.
Two summers ago, we planted a cherry tree in our front yard. Growth is slow, but abundance is coming. I visualize days when my daughters wander over to the tree at their leisure and come back with stained fingers and smiling faces.
I hope our little tree’s roots have grown as much as the branches. If the roots aren’t spreading and mining the surrounding clay and topsoil for water, my children won’t have fruit to pick.
To paraphrase Skye Jethani, “I love the mission of God too much to love the mission of God too much.” In our longing to bear fruit, we must not lose our focus on abiding in Christ (John 15) and putting down healthy roots (Psalm 1).
Last week, I was on a retreat with friends. I heard beautiful stories of missional fruit: newcomers cared for with spectacular generosity, a man finding Jesus just days before his death, and two young women recounting stories of breaking free from cruel addictions and discovering new life in Christ.
This is what the mission of God sounds like!
Before the sun arose and after it set each day, we prayed together. We reflected on Scripture. We shared deeply about our lives and all that God is up to. We processed wounds and struggles. We listened for God’s voice and sought Him together.
We were focusing on our roots.
God calls us into His mission, but He first calls us to Himself. He is our first love. One of the easiest places to hide from God is while joining the mission of God. I pray that isn’t true of us, and I offer this as a reflection amidst our focus on mission.
The fruit of evangelism, justice and mercy are meant to flow from lives and communities rooted in loving God and being loved by God.
It’s always wise to let Jesus have the last word:
“I am the true vine…no branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine…if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” (John 15:1,4b, 5b)
Prayer: Lord, take me deeper into life with You. Increase my faith and love. Let them overflow wherever I go so that people might see my life, glorify you, and come to walk with You forever. Amen.
Reflection: Do you tend more toward seeking God or serving God? Talk to God about why that is today and what it looks like to engage the other side.
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