A few weeks ago, I started to get a little antsy after reading some unsettling headlines. I don’t expect the news of the day to be filled with rainbows, unicorns, and all that is right with the world, but these headlines were anxiety producing for even the steadiest Eddies. The recent news about hyper-inflation and food shortages had me shifting into control-everything-around-me mode and brainstorming what I could do to prepare for the possible scarcity of food.
During the same week I was worried about food shortages and feeding my family given my brown thumb, I was also finishing the final week of a Bible study. The last chapter of the Bible study was titled, “Bear Fruit”. The focus was on John 15:16, in which Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”
There I was with these competing thoughts of literal food shortages and figurative fruit bearing swirling in my head. It was then that God showed me something that I pray will continue to impact me every day of my life. The Lord, knowing I love a good play on words, melded the thoughts together: What do I do if there is a famine? Bear fruit.
What does it mean to bear fruit?
Bearing fruit comes from intentionally seeking Christ – being tethered to Him. It is singularly the result of loving Jesus, glorifying the Father, and walking in the Holy Spirit. Bearing fruit means cultivating a deep, abiding relationship with Jesus that informs your every word, thought, action, interaction, and decision.
To be clear, bearing fruit is not about performing or attempting righteousness in our own strength. It is not accomplished by willpower or trying hard enough to be “good”. We can only bear fruit if we remain connected to the Vine. Earlier in John 15, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (verse 5).
Salvation in Christ is not just about what we are saved to (eternal life), but what we are saved for. And in John 15 Jesus answers what we are saved for: to bear fruit that will last. Fruit that has eternal significance. Being His ambassador on this Earth. Bringing the Kingdom into the chaos of the world. Jesus didn’t come only to save our souls, but to redeem His creation and all parts of the human experience. There isn’t a facet of our lives where He doesn’t want to shine His light.
We live in a time of “not enough” resources, or fear that there won’t be enough. God doesn’t speak the language of scarcity; we do, and then we give His words, His actions, and His plans a starving aspect that He never intended. Christians should not have a scarcity mindset about anything. Admittedly, that’s a bold statement and it’s just as much for me as it is for you. However, that’s where a Christian is set apart – we are lacking no good thing (Deuteronomy 2:7; Psalm 23:1; James 1:4).
As the world seems to be following a crazier script with each passing day, our question to ourselves should be, “How can I bear fruit in this time and place?” When you witness scarcity of food, scarcity of morals, or scarcity of any good thing, you bring the fruit. Fruit that will last. Bear fruit wherever and whenever God wrote you into history. That is His plan for you.
We bear fruit in the famine. We bear fruit in the chaos. We bear fruit in the sadness. Whenever it seems like God is far from a situation, we bear His fruit.
Had I used this title, “Bring Fruit to the Famine” a few years ago, it would have read as hyperbole, but headlines warn of literal famines in parts of the world that haven’t known famine in centuries. Just before I sat down to write this post, I saw this ominous headline: “Massive Food Inflation: Farm Prices up 31% as Eggs, Meat, Vegetables, Chickens, Dairy, Corn, and Wheat Soar”. Not only was that a lot of words for a headline, but that’s also a lot of worry. In the coming months, when you read about food scarcity, instead of triggering fear, may it trigger the next thought: “It’s time for me to bear fruit.”
We do not know what the future holds or if the headlines will come to pass. But if so, may we bring fruit to the famine.
“Though the fig tree does not bud
And there are no grapes on the vines,
Though the olive crop fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen
And no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
Dear Lord, let me be ready to bear fruit to those who may be hungry – literally or spiritually. I can only bear fruit if I’m connected to You. Lord, I pray every time I read a headline about food shortages, You would trigger the reminder that I’m here to bear fruit. You are not a God of lack, but a God of abundance. Whatever comes, may we crave You. Thank You for choosing Your children to bear fruit. Maranatha! Amen.