Jesus says a lot of things in the gospels that we repeat, maybe even memorize, but don’t really . . . believe.
This has been described as “beautiful nonsense,” words that sound poetic and meaningful but aren’t really meaningful because we don’t accept that they could be true.
One of these is John 15:5 – “Without me, you can do nothing.” Oh, we give lip service to this and aver that we very much believe it, but if you look at the way most people who say they believe Christ’s words act, you don’t see the belief.
“God expects you to get up off your chair and DO something!” we’re constantly told (and preached to), generally with some verse from Proverbs (dealing with lazy sloths versus wise Proverbs 31 women of perfection) slapped on for emphasis.
But the words mean just that – without Him, we can do nothing. We can’t create our next breath. We can’t determine the length of our lives. We can’t even add an inch to our height. And yet, when it comes to living our lives in a brutal world that tumbles people over the rocks, we’re told that God expects us to do much more than we are able to do.
Shortly after the verse in which Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing, He says, in 15:8, “You will bear much fruit.”
“Ah, but that’s IF we remain in Him, IF his words remain in us,” the preaching begins, automatically assuming that we cannot do enough, believe enough, be right enough to truly make a difference, with our lives, in the world around us.
But that goes back to our DOING enough – on our own. And we can’t. We just can’t.
Like the two girls in the artwork, You Will Bear Much Fruit, we are limited in our abilities and understanding. We cannot CREATE the fruit that is picked, but we can, with our baskets, approach the vines and gather what we see before us. Our Father in heaven delights in the work of his children’s hands.
We work together, older with younger, stronger with weaker, to gather from the vines. And we bear much fruit.
April 17th, 2017
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