The Bible is full of beautiful, encouraging, but also difficult and sometimes bizarre passages. Well, I am sure you all know that :) One of the most important warnings in simple words was urged by the Master himself when He addressed his followers about the vine and the fruit. He told them to stay connected to him if they wanted to be productive and then He added: Apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
I always thought that was such a radical and strong statement and kind of weird at the same time. Let's face it, there are millions of people who do all kinds of stuff without Him every day. There are millions of people who labor in their own strength and even people who purposely ignore the Lord in their daily business. What exactly does Jesus mean when He says 'apart from Me you can do nothing?' There are people who do everything without Him and to some level have a successful life, right? We might even feel a little jealous from time to time when we see people in the world being very successful while we are struggling to keep our head above water.
I personally believe Jesus' emphasis was not on the 'doing' of stuff, but on the fruit it produces. Does our work bring forth fruit? In other words: is there growth and is there a lasting effect? We can ask ourselves the following questions regularly:
- Am I putting my energy in things that will be gone next year or in relationships with everlasting value?
- Am I investing my money in stuff that will be outdated soon or in programs that build the Kingdom?
- Am I working for earthly success or to serve others?
Apart from Me you can do nothing. That is not a negative statement, it is a positive promise. It is everything we trust in and hope for! It seals our connection, our friendship and our sonship. We need to be reminded, over and over, that we live and move and exist in Jesus Christ alone. We need to be reminded, over and over again, that knowledge, education, status, or success are not important in the Kingdom, but the fruit we produce certainly is!
Staying connected to the source of life, that will produce a fruitful harvest!