Bearing Fruit (or Not)
What does it mean to bear—or not bear—fruit? A fig tree’s fruitfulness or barrenness is not about how hard the tree works. It’s not about its effort or lack thereof. Figs are just the natural outgrowth of being a fig tree. They are an external outworking, an expression, of what is means to be a fig tree. God makes a fig tree so that figs are the result.
Like the fig tree, faith naturally brings forth fruit. In the life centered on God, fruit is the necessary result. Fruit is just the natural outgrowth of being a Christian. Such fruit is an external outworking, an expression, of what it means to be a human being. God makes human beings so that fruit is the result. Living for God and for others results in a growing life, a life that bears fruit.
Fruitfulness and the abundant life are the necessary outgrowth of belonging to God. Barrenness and impotence are the necessary outgrowth of a life separated from God. Sometimes we want to see fruit so much that we pull the plant up by its roots to see if it’s growing. Other times we work very, very hard to bring about fruit. But the best way to bear fruit is to ground our roots in God and God’s love, grafting ourselves to Christ Jesus as the vine from which we branch out.
Today seek out a person, practice or place that puts you in touch with God’s love and care for you. Sink your roots deep into your connection to God, trusting that this is the key to the fruitfulness that God has created for you—and that God has created you for.
Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl is a PC(USA) pastor using her liturgical studies PhD to serve a small congregation near Philadelphia—and to write NL resources.
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