My neighbors have a peach tree that they planted several years ago. Last summer, they gave us some of the harvest from that tree. The fruit was sweet and delicious, but they were tiny. They explained that it takes several years for a fruit-bearing tree to produce a good harvest. The tree needs time to mature. Time for the roots to go down deep. Time for it’s outward appearance to become strong and stable. Only then, with continued sun and rain, will it bring the abundance that it was created to.
Our walk with Christ is much the same. Part of the preparation to bearing good fruit is to have our roots in Christ to reach deep. That requires our continued pursuit of the living water so that we can be properly nourished. As our roots go deeper, we will begin to have that outward appearance of strength and stability. Then, and only then, will we begin to produce an abundance of disciples. And that is the goal – to make disciples of all nations. The fruit tree has no meaning if it’s not providing nourishment to someone.
“I am the true vine,and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I find it interesting that Christ has used this example to help us understand the kingdom at work through us. He explained the unexplainable in a context that we can understand. We can see the cycle of these trees as an example of the cycle in our outreach as well. The fruit tree goes dormant for a period of time … kind of like it needs it’s rest before the next batch of fruit is grown. I have found that same cycle to be true in the outreach that my husband and I do. There are seasons of being dormant, and then seasons of planting and pruning, seasons of growth and seasons of harvest. God hasn’t put in place different laws of existence only for the earth or ourselves. He has applied those same laws to everything.
Just as the tree produces the fruit, which produces a seed and in turn produces another tree that produces fruit, so we as disciples produce a disciple, who in turn plants a seed in someone else and they grow into a disciple. If we were all active in our pursuit of bearing fruit, how different would our towns look, let alone the world. We have been chosen for a specific purpose, it’s not a mistake when we’re called … it’s simply the beginning of becoming equipped.
Ready Day 13 Devotion by Scott
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last