Jesus words: “The Father cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” — John 15:2 NIV
My preacher grandfather used to say, “We should not judge, but we are to be fruit inspectors.” Actually that phrase sounded even a bit too judgmental to me. Yet, if we are not assessing the fruit of our lives, how do we know if we are living up to the potential God has placed within us? The Greek philosopher Socrates stated, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Scripture and philosophy point to meaning and purpose in life to make a difference.
This is a season of fruit inspection in our society, the church and in my life. Systems of racial injustice, economic inequity and “man’s inhumanity to man (sic)” are daily being laid forth in local, national and international news. The Church as the most segregated Sunday institution pauses in uncomfortable reflection and discussion about how the Church contributes to and participates in systems of oppression and injustice. I look inward and see how my early upbringing instilled default attitudes of racial bias that still needs work after 40 years of growing awareness and change. It all seems so overwhelming to see social upheaval around us and within is!
Yet there is good news. God is at work within me in order that I may produce more fruit. What kind of fruit? The fruit of the Spirit of course: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control. Those fruits enable me to live in a more Christ-like manner and advocate for justice for the marginalized and to work for change in systems that diminish the human dignity in any person. I pray that I can be receptive to the work God is doing within me and within the Church of Jesus Christ.
Remember that God’s desire in this fruit growing business is not to harm but to bring greater health and wholeness. May we stay connected to God and one another in this season of discomfort as we face multiple viruses of Covid-19, racial inequities and injustice of many types. May I/we bear good fruit with Christ who is our Peace.
Daily Devotion for June 15, 2020