I wonder what Jesus meant when he said he appointed us “to go and bear fruit that will remain.” If there is one thing fruit does not do, that’s remain. Leave it out on the counter too long and the fruit flies come, and the rot, and pretty soon those apples and grapes are good for nothing but the trash.
I love the image Jesus uses in John 15 of us “remaining” or “abiding” in him like branches connected to a grape vine. And the way he describes the Father tenderly caring for those branches, pruning them with the aim making them fruitful: all of it, for our good. But today I’m stuck on verse 16:
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain….”
Fruit, as I said, does not usually remain very long. Particularly in the hot climate Jesus lived in, where there was no refrigeration or AC to cool things down.
Maybe that’s the point.
Fruit is meant to be eaten
Sometimes we want to hoard the fruit that we bear, for ourselves. But fruit is meant to be eaten. Whether eaten fresh and right away, or dried and stored for later, it has one purpose: to provide nourishment, pleasure, sweetness—for someone else.
The fruit of the vine has another end, as well: to be crushed and fermented, made into wine that brings joy.
How can fruit remain?
I chose you to bear fruit that will remain.
When we abide in him, when his life flows through us, we become fruitful with works of kindness and charity and self-donating love. Sometimes we are stomped on, crushed and fermented. We are consumed as we pour ourselves out for others. But that fruit lives on—it remains—in the sweetness and joy it gives others.
It lives on in another way, as well: by scattering seeds that promise new life, more life, resurrected life from what appears dead.
Remain in the Word … and bear fruit
“Remain in” this Word by meditating on it today:
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
What do you hear it saying to you?
© 2021 Sarah Christmyer