If there is one word that sums up what Jesus asks of his followers, it’s “fruitfulness”. It’s a significant and important word, because it’s very different from the values that we usually use to direct our lives. Fruitfulness is not synonymous with success. Fruitfulness is not the same as “winning” or “achieving” or “accomplishing”. In fact, if we read Jesus’ words in John 15 carefully, fruitfulness is not so much something we do as something we are. A tree does not have to strive to be fruitful. If a tree is healthy and connected to a source of water and nutrients, it will bear fruit – it can do no other.

In the same way, Jesus invites us to “remain in” him, to stay connected to the one who is the source of our sustenance. If we do this, we will bear fruit – we can do no other. When we remain in Jesus, then we will find our values, priorities, desires, and dreams all lining up with those of God’s Reign, which was Jesus’ focal point. We won’t have to strive to love (which is how Jesus defines fruit in John 15) – we will automatically become lovers of God and of people. We won’t have to strive for justice – we will automatically become concerned for the wellbeing of others and of our planet. We won’t have to pretend to be compassionate – we will find compassion flowing freely because that is the heart of Christ. All we need to do is stay intimately connected with Jesus and allow his message and mission to flood through our lives.

We have already begun to explore what it means to bear fruit. This week, we continue that journey and seek to “remain in” Jesus in a deeper way.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.