“When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
Recently I came across the story of a vineyard owner from Northern California. He said, “New branches have a natural tendency to fall down and grow along the ground, but they don’t bear fruit down there. When branches grow along the ground, the leaves get coated in dust. When it rains, they get muddy and mildewed. The branch becomes sick and useless.” Does the vineyard Gardner cut it off and throw it away? “Oh, no,” the vineyard owner replied, “You see, the branch is much too valuable for that. We go through the vineyard with a bucket of water, looking for those branches that are dirty or muddy. We lift them up, wash them off and clean each of them. Then we wrap them around the trellis and tie them up. Pretty soon, they’re thriving.”
What an amazing picture of how Jesus sees you. He doesn’t discard you or give up on you when you fail, blow it, or find yourself in the dirt and mud of sin. Rather, He picks you up, cleans you up and ties you up so that you can bear much fruit and thrive in your life. You see, the reality is there are four stages of reaping and sowing—always understanding that it is God who gives the increase.
- You reap only what you sow!
- You reap the same as what you sow!
- You reap more in proportion to what you sow!
- You reap in a different season to what you sow!
Listen closely! The following are four “fruit bearing” principles in the life of a Disciple of Christ. God wants to take you from a “No Fruit” life to a “Much Fruit” life. So what are the barriers? What are those obstacles that can keep you from a “No Fruit” life to a “Much Fruit” life?
As Bruce Wilkinson shares in his great book, Secrets of the Vine:
“No Fruit”—Sin is the barrier! If you are living your life in the muck, mud and mire of sin and disobedience, you will not bear fruit. You must repent daily to have fellowship with the Father. Don’t be detached from the Vine. Stay connected and abide with the Vine (Jesus). Talk to Him. Spend time with Him in His word, the Bible, and prayer.
“Fruit”—Stuff is the barrier! The Gardner is never closer to the vine than when he is pruning it. Every branch is unique to the Gardner. God must cut back, and remove anything that is not producing fruit. God must prune back your life before He brings the next blessing in your life. God loves you. He knows what’s best for your life. Trust Him!
“More Fruit”—Satisfaction is the barrier! This is where you get satisfied in your walk with God. You stop seeking God in a deep and intimate way. You do just enough to get by. Your fire is lit, but your wood is wet. Good has become the enemy of God’s best for your life. Don’t ever become satisfied in your walk and dependence with God. Seek Him with all your heart!
“Much Fruit”—Home is the barrier! You chose safe over risk. You chose familiar over unfamiliar. You want to leverage your influence and impact lives for the kingdom of God, and in many ways you’re doing that—however stepping out of the secure boat and allowing God to “fully and completely” use you far beyond your home territory is a scary and overwhelming proposition. Do it! Risk it! Go for it! He’s got you.
Don’t be satisfied with a life that bears “No Fruit, Fruit or More Fruit.” Rather, be all that God has called and desires for you to be—by living a “Much Fruit” life. That brings God great glory!
Be Worth Being,
Kevin Burrell has worked in professional baseball as both a player and MLB scout for the past 40 years, and currently serves as an area scouting supervisor. Kevin was drafted in the 1st round of the 1981 free agent amateur draft (25th selection overall), and played ten years of professional baseball with four different organizations. He and his wife, Valerie, live in Sharpsburg, Ga.
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