By: Pastor Vern Kratz
Today’s reading comes from John 15:1-17.
As I read the passage I am reminded about a lot of things. The first thing I am hit with is a reminder that sometimes I need to take a step back and take a good look at myself and make sure I am doing the things I am supposed to be doing – the things that are important to God.
Jesus uses the illustration of a gardener that needs to prune his plants so that they can be more fruitful. Sometimes we need to change or quit something so we can be better at something else. For example, if I quit complaining about situations, then the by-product of that would be a healthier attitude towards life – that’s a good thing. What do you need to cut off or change from the pattern you are presently following with your life, so that you can experience a more fruitful, abundant, and blessed life?
Continuing with the gardening illustration, another thing that I am reminded about is that I need to stay connected – both to God and to other people that will have a good influence on me or who I can be a good influence on. Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself” and then he said “apart from me you can do nothing.”
God is our source of everything! And if we try and live a life disconnected from him then we are no longer attached to the One who is to be our source. When that happens just like a branch that is cut off from the vine withers, so we will wither and our spiritual vitality will become shallow or non-existent. To experience God’s blessing we need to be in regular communication with him. We need to be connected to him. We also need each other and we need to love each other.
Which brings me to my last reminder for today: the fruit that a plant produces is the proof of whether the plant is healthy or not. The same way our lives need to bear fruit that proves whether we are spiritually healthy or not. And one of the fruit or evidences of our lives should be the love and concern we have for other people. Today’s passage concludes with a simple command from Jesus: Love each other.
It’s February and this month contains: Valentine’s Day, Marriage Week, and Random Acts of Kindness Week. February is a good month for us to make sure we loving and caring for each other. I want to take stock of what fruit my life is producing. The fruit in my life is seen through my love and concern for others.
Our love for one another is important to God. Happy belated Valentine’s Day!