John 15:5 - "[Jesus said,] 'I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.'"
So, our son, Caden, as he often does, asked me one time to print out some homework papers on our printer at home. I was glad to.
So, I took his laptop and went upstairs to the printer in our daughter Calley's room. I plugged into the side of the computer, as I always do, pulled up the document, and pushed print. Nothing happened. Paper was fine. I turned the printer off and on and then pushed print again. Nothing happened. I went through all that another three times before I realized what I'd done, or I should say, what I had not done.
In sum, I went into mindless mode. And in so doing, I did one thing that was similar enough to what I always do, so that I didn't notice that I also didn't do something that I always do that really needed to be done to get the job done, printing Caden's doc. Did ya follow that? :-)
What I did was I plugged in one plug, like I always do, and stopped. The problem was that I plugged in the power cord because the battery was low. But having plugged in one cord, I stopped and didn't plug into the printer cord. The result? Nothing printed! In other words, no fruit for my labors.
Based on today's Bible verse, you might say my branch was plugged into something, even something important, but it wasn't plugged into the vine that's required to bear fruit.
Here's the deal, Friends. May I be honest? Many people are going into their day, either to work or school, in several hours. And they'll be plugged into the power cord, some coffee or energy drink or breakfast, but they'll start to work without being plugged into the printer.
Spiritually speaking, the printer is what makes it possible for you to see and feel good about the fruit of your labors in a day. I'm not talking about seeing a project finished or a sale closed or a paycheck earned. I'm talking about seeing and feeling good about the spiritual fruit of your labors. Ya know? Fruit! Like, the work I did today was eternally significant. Fruit! Like, God was pleased with my labors. Fruit! Like, I went about my work in a way that noticed the people and treated them respectfully so I can sleep with both the satisfaction of a job well done and a clear conscience that I didn't step on and over someone to get it done.
Such fruit can only come about if you're plugged into Jesus and not just Java, Juice, and Jelly. That's why Jesus said, "For apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) Oh sure, you can do something! But apart from Jesus, you can never do anything eternally significant, anything pleasing to God, or anything that lets you have peace and a clear-conscious when you go to sleep at night.
And all you have to do to end the day feeling good about your eternally-significant, God-pleasing, clear-conscious fruit is start the day plugging into the vine, who is Jesus.
Let's pray: Dear Jesus, you are the vine, and apart from you we can do nothing worth doing! So please Lord, right now, before we start our day, pour out your Holy Spirit to connect us to you, the vine, so that we can have all the good fruit spring forth from our labors, bring glory to your name, and impart a blessing to every person in our day! Amen
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson