John 15:16-17: You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Back in July, when I was getting ready to leave for our ELCA national youth gathering, I begrudgingly threw out a bunch of fruit that I knew would go bad while I was away for a week. But I threw it out anyway, knowing it wouldn’t last. (I also didn’t want to come home to a stinky, juicy fridge—yuck!) In the moment, it felt like wasted money, wasted resources that someone—myself or someone else—could have really used. Since then, however—at least as I work in the office this afternoon—my thoughts on this wasted fruit have shifted a bit. So roll with me on this, okay? 😉
Nothing we eat will last. Fruit, meat, etc…all of it “goes bad” at some point. Even those lovely little Twinkies some of us loved as kids—which were said to last forever—go bad after approximately a month! Nothing lasts…kind of. In John 15, Jesus bids the disciples to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. So what is this fruit? It is that which we receive in and by Christ: grace, forgiveness, resurrection. It is the promises we receive in Holy Communion.
The promises of God will never “go bad”. They have been given to us freely, so that we might bear its goodness and witness to it every day. So as you go about the rest of your week, I invite you to think about, pray about, and consider where you are showing or bearing the lasting fruits of God’s promises with the people around you.
Are you bearing or telling of “fruits” that will last, or will go bad, or are unhelpful? Anger, jealousy, hate, gossip? These are not a part of the lasting fruits God bears to us and invites to bear witness to in the world. But showing or bearing God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, and generosity? Those will last. Those won’t stink up our homes or our lives after a week or two. Instead, they will continue to bring life to us and to our communities as we discern what and who we are as the people of God in our corners of the world.
So…lasting fruits? We’ve got them. We’ve got Christ, and all the things he has given to us by his death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father. Let’s share them this week with our neighbors.