John 15:16 - (Jesus said) "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give it to you."
From Genesis to Revelation, we find parables, analogies, and examples about agriculture. Fruit seems to be a very common, a very fitting analogy. Jesus, speaking to His followers in the verse above, said that He chose them to go and bear fruit-and that fruit will last.
Far better than apples and oranges, Jesus is speaking of the things St. Paul later lists in his letter to the Galatians. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23a).
We may try very hard to express love and joy, so we can let it show and so that others know we're "good Christians." But is that what God intends? Paul says it's the fruit of the Spirit. It's God in us, letting His attributes flow through us (see also 2 Timothy 1:7). It's God's fruit. We're only the vessels. Our job is to rest in the Lord, to let His fruit flow through us, and to watch out for sin that will get in the way.
And don't forget the pruning. As any gardener knows, it often takes a lot of trimming back for the tree to be abundant and bear the best fruit. God, in His love will be pruning us, trimming us, so more of His fruit can grow through us. The pruning may at times be painful; it may be incomprehensible to us, but it will happen, and it is for the good of God's plan (see John 15:2).
So, why should we bear fruit? Is the fruit for the tree? No. The fruit is for others. The fruit we bear is for their comfort, encouragement, edification, and benefit. It's for others. It is part of our identity as Christians. "They will know that we are Christians by our love," as Jesus indicated in John 13.
The seeds for growing new trees are found within the fruit. It is the fruit, along with God's Word and Spirit, that will be the means for new trees to grow, for people to come to faith. "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30). God has chosen us to share His Word. He uses us as a means for new trees to spring up.
Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37b). Are you letting His fruit grow in you and express itself through you? He wants to use you in a special way. Remember, it is Jesus who said, "I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit."
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, in Your strength, grant that we may always bear fruit for You. May Your love and joy grow in us and overflow to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, January 1980 issue, "Go and Bear Fruit," by Matt Welser
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