Last week I met a friend for breakfast at a local bakery. It’s one of those privately owned, small businesses with weird hours and the owner’s first name in the business name on front door. Every town has one that is insanely popular with the locals and has the best doughnuts in the universe.
If you’re taking notes, these are way cooler places to say you met a friend for breakfast than your run-of-the-mill franchise joint.
During breakfast, our conversation quickly turned to fruit (which is odd because this place doesn’t serve anything within 500 calories of an apple…). Specifically, we talked about the discouragement that can come when we go through seasons where we see no visible evidence of fruit in the world that can be traced back to our own walk with Christ.
Our Encouragement Lies in Scripture
On the night before his arrest, Jesus told the Disciples:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
As is always the case, Jesus was intentional in His word choice.
He DIDN’T say: “he it is that sees much fruit”, “he it is that gets credit for much fruit” OR “he it is that gets to show his friends all of his fruit”.
He DID say “he it is that bears much fruit”. No guarantees that we get to see it.
There have been volumes written about our role as branches, clinging to the vine (Jesus) so that fruit can be produced. Let’s talk for a minute about what it’s like to be the fruit itself.
Science believes that both the shape and flavor of fruit are designed to facilitate its movement far away from the branch that it fell from.
The round shape facilitates rolling for fruit trees or vines that are rooted on a slope. It also makes for smooth passage through the digestive system for birds or other animals who might eat it (more on that later).
I know what you’re thinking…”What about bananas??” I’m convinced that God made bananas in such an odd shape so we could tell them apart from the other yellow fruit and wouldn’t accidentally make a lemon pudding or banana iced tea for the church potluck.
The sweet flavor of most fruit also makes it more appealing to animals.
Most animals have at least a six hour digestive system, meaning it takes at least six hours (sometimes more) for fruit eaten now to travel all the way through the digestive process and end up as a spot on your freshly washed car. Your average bird can travel a LOOOONNNGG way in six hours!
In either scenario, the seed inside the fruit is neatly deposited in its new home along with a healthy dose of fertilizer…far out of the sight of the branch it fell from.
Focus on the Vine, Not the Fruit
As Christians, our focus should be fixed solely on the process of abiding in Christ. When this is done, Jesus tells us that we will bear much fruit for the Kingdom.
Fruit will do as fruit does…release from the branch and move on…hopefully to go on and become its own branch.
Our job is to stay connected with the vine, grow that connection, and be amazed that our King loves us enough to allow us to be a part of the process!