Joining Jesus’ mission means living a fruitful life.
On the night before He died, Jesus spent time with His disciples. These were His last words to the men He had loved and poured His life into for more than three years. As they walked through a vineyard on the slope of the mount of olives, Jesus stopped and turned to them. Lifting up a cluster of grapes in His hand, Jesus began to speak about their relationship with Him: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father,” (John 15.5-8 NlT).
Up to this point, they had been with Jesus day and night. They had learned to depend on Him and trust His leadership. They had grown to rely on His counsel and His protection. But soon, things would be different. Soon, Jesus would be crucified, raised to life and eventually ascend to heaven, where He would remain at His Father’s right hand of power and authority.
How would they relate to Him then? Jesus explained that in the same way a branch stays vitally connected to the vine in order to live and produce fruit, Jesus’ disciples needed to stay in vital connection with Him, depending on Him for everything. Apart from Him, they would wither spiritually. Apart from Him, they could do nothing of lasting significance. But, if they would abide in His words, (listening to and obeying His words on a daily basis) and depend on Him to meet their daily needs through His Spirit, they would see fruit in their lives, proving to the world they are truly His disciples and bringing glory to God.
Then He added, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit,” (John 15.16 NlT). maybe they thought they chose Jesus, but in reality, He chose them, and He chose them for one reason — so they could produce lasting fruit.
What does it mean to live a fruitful life? Ultimately, it means that your life results in seeing men and women come to faith in Jesus and follow Him with all their hearts. That is the fruit that will last forever. When you scatter the seed of God’s Word (Luke 8.11 ESV),and it falls on open and eager hearts, it results in changed lives — lives that will live forever in heaven. That’s lasting fruit! one day God is going to evaluate our lives to see how fruitful we have been with what we were given (Romans 14.12; 1 Corinthians 3.11-15 ESV).
So, if that day is coming, then it would be wise to stop now and do a little self-evaluation. Are you living a fruitful life? Are you producing fruit that will last? Can you think of people who are walking with God right now because of your influence?
While you are thinking about that, I want you to also think about your own funeral. Picture what that day will be like. Imagine the people who are there. Think about what will be said about you. Will people say, “Old so-and-so, he was a good guy; we played a lot of golf and made a lot of money”? Will people say, “She was a nice lady and tried to be a good person”? or will they say, “This woman squeezed every bit of life out of the one life God gave her”? or, “He invested his life in eternal things”? How about, “She poured her life into people and pointed them to Jesus”?
Imagine the pastor standing on the platform saying, “If your life was touched by this man, please stand up.” Now picture several people standing — people you led to Christ. People you taught to walk with God. The pastor continues, “Now, if one of the people standing has touched your life, please stand.” more stand to their feet. These are the second generation of your life’s impact. The pastor keeps going. “Now, if one of the people standing has impacted your life, please stand.” Now the whole room is standing. No one is left seated. Every life in the building was changed because of your life and faithfulness.
This is a picture of lasting fruit. I believe that one day, this is what will happen in heaven. one day you will get to see the multiplying impact of your life as the one person you touched touches another, who touches another, who touches another. That will be your reward; your lasting fruit. But that kind of fruit in heaven begins now, right here on earth.
When you share the Gospel, you are producing fruit. Jesus makes a promise to anyone who invests His life in sharing the Gospel. one day we will hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25.21 NlT). Won’t that be an amazing moment? To hear Jesus say, “You did it! You were faithful and your life has lasting fruit!”
Now think about how tragic it would be to arrive in heaven with little fruit. So, let me ask you again, “Are you living a fruitful life?” Ultimately, nothing else really matters. At the end of your life, the accomplishments and accolades of this world — the pleasures and passions of this world — are nothing in comparison to the joy of a fruitful life in heaven.
Jesus wants you to join Him on His mission. Jesus wants your life to be like that cluster of grapes in His hands — beautiful and fruitful. This is why He chose you. This is why you are here. This is the joy that awaits you when you live on mission with Jesus.
Photo Credit: Rohit Tandon