My uncle sent me a text not too long ago after I asked him about the farms in southwest Iowa. It read, "Many mouths will be empty in the world, I fear." The summer has been a big, ugly drought here in the Midwest.
And that has me thinking about provision.
There's no way around it - we need food. We might be confused about how much we need, but the fact that we need it is not up for debate. We are wired to need food.
The reality that we depend on food is something God uses every day to remind us of our dependence on Him. When we have daily bread, we are thankful. When we lack daily bread, we remember that He is the bread of life. Whether we are hungry or full, God is always the Provider.
As I think about the fruit produced in John 15, I wonder what happens to all of the produce. Have you ever thought of that? God is the vine and we are the branches. If we remain in Him, we will bear MUCH FRUIT. It is clear that God is the Provider - what branch can produce fruit separate from the vine? But, for the person who remains in the Lord, what is to become of the fruit he/she produces? Does it just accumulate and then fall to the ground under the fruit-heavy branches?
Fruit is meant to be eaten, at least where I come from. I love the summer months that bring blueberries and sweet bing cherries. I love the fall months that bring Honeycrisp apples and grapes and pomegranates. I love the winter months that bring out the canned peaches and strawberry jams. I love these fruits because they are delicious.
So, what if we thought of the fruit on our branches in the same way? What if, as we are remaining in the Lord - knowing Him, finding out what pleases Him, and delighting to do those things - we are a fruit factory?
What if God serves up fruit through our lives so that others can taste and see that HE IS GOOD? Isn't this what it says in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine bright before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise the Father in heaven."?
As we remain in Him, we cannot help but produce fruit - delicious, ripe, fresh-off-the-vine fruit. Now, if we could just find ways to serve others with this precious produce. Our fruit is not meant to rot on the branch, but to be shared and enjoyed!
The fruit produced by branches connected to the vine is meant to be eaten by others, enjoyed by others, and served to others. Let this be the way we handle the fruit of the Spirit.