Bearing fruit really.
During the later part of the 20th century in the former Soviet Union it was often very difficult to get goods from one place to another because the frozen landscape made establishing and maintaining roads or railways very difficult. This created a situation where a person in one part of the country had more oranges than he knew what to do with while someone in another place had the same problem with some other commodity and no easy way to trade. Someone living in the far south of the country could buy a plane ticket to the north to visit friends or family and rather than taking a lot of luggage, they only took the bare necessities for their stay. Instead they would carry a suitcase stuffed full of oranges. When they got where they were going, they would sell the fruit to pay for their travel. The oranges that they couldn't sell where they were coming from were more precious than gold in this distant place that had none.
The problem with bearing fruit is that it quickly becomes all about my performance. All about me. How much fruit am I "bearing"? How much am I producing, and how am I performing in the process? I can get so distracted with my own efforts at trying to produce something that's really acceptable to God and appreciated by other people that I completely miss the real opportunity to authentically carry the very precious things that God has already clearly given me to bear on his behalf. It's especially true when I'm walking in places where what he's given me is in really short supply. The truth is, really bearing fruit is more about what I'm carrying than it is about what I'm producing. Producing fruit is not enough. It never has been. You and I have have to carry it.
Having fruit warehouses all across the land is great. But it's not so great if people who are desperate for oranges have none. The truth is, people are desperate for "fruit." It's just that they're not desperate for oranges. They are desperate for something else, desperate to believe that God loves them and has not abandoned them. They are desperate for some small expression of kindness or even a kind word. They are absolutely desperate to be accepted for who they are and the way they are, in spite of how they look or what they've done or not done.
The challenge for you and me is to change how we think about bearing fruit from just producing it in some fashion that feels and looks good to actually getting it into the hands of those who really desperately need it.
Scripture to consider - John 15:5 - “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (NIV)
As you walk this journey today, What does it really look like when you are bearing the things that you were made to carry into the places you go every day?
How have you confused producing fruit (performance) with bearing fruit (just being)?
How have you at times overlooked the infinite value of the things that you were made to carry and the benefit they are to those around you?
What is one thing that you have to offer that others around you desperately need?
How will you invite God to guide you in this endeavor of bearing?
― Stephen King
“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”
― Mother Teresa
"All fruit grows through abiding, not striving."
― Bill Johnson
A simple prayer for Bearing:
Father, today I thank you for anointing me to be the walking fullness of everything that you have intended be to be. Will you protect me from myself and my own distraction with being focused on my own performance instead of your goodness and grace. Thank you that you are making me the fruit and the fruit bearer for every place and person that you have called me to.