For many of us Christians, we talk about the true disciple is one that bears fruit. The Church talks about different ministries being fruitful and many churches count different things as a way to talk about how much fruit something bears. In the past I have written about the need to grow fruit and not veggies, how drought leads to high quality fruit and even the needed shift from being fruitful focused to being faithful focused.
Today I want to share a story from my friend, Reid, when he went to his grandmothers house.
Reid's grandmother has at least one apple tree in her backyard. This tree is beginning to have a lot of fruit. So much so in fact that the branches are being held up by posts for support. Reid and his grandmother were shook from their seat when one of the fruit laden branches snapped and fell to the ground. Reid shared that it is a shame that the branch snapped off because it had a lot of fruit on it, but the fruit was too immature to pick and eat. That branch and all the buds on it were going to rot and end up as firewood.
In many circles and conversations I have participated in, there is an emphasis on bearing fruit. As such churches are measured by how much fruit they produce - members, dollars, building size, average worship attendance, etc. With all this talk about bearing fruit we might forget that the goal of the Christian life is not to bear fruit.
The goal is be connected to the True Vine.
When we talk about the Christian life we are tempted to talk about the fruit, when we really should be talking about the connection we have with the Vine. Don't tell me how many people you have in worship, tell me how you see people connecting with God in worship. Rather than how many dollars you give, share how much grace you have received. I am not interested in hearing how many times you have read the Bible as I am hearing about how many times you have allowed the Bible to read you. So you have a ton of 'likes' or 'followers' but when was the last time you were humbled by your own smallness?
We are not called to bear fruit, we are called to connect to the vine. If we focus on fruitfulness without contentedness then we may be like a branch that is full of apples only to break off and (ironically) not be fruitful.