Wednesday, October 31, 2012

He is the Vine, We are the Branches

Earlier this summer I mentioned that I had been traveling on church business quite a bit.  What I didn't say was that I have accepted a new role in our Florida United Methodist Conference.  I am the Associate Lay Leader for Reaching Next Generations.  When I said I would do this, I wasn't sure what exactly it involved, and I didn't feel equipped, but I prayed about it and felt God had led me to this place and was asking for me to serve.  I still don't necessarily feel equipped, but I do know that if God calls you to something, He will equip you for it so I depend on Him for words, plans, ideas and guidance. 

Monday morning I attended a meeting with pastors from a district in our Conference.  Our new Bishop is meeting with each district and I have been invited to attend as I can.  Our Lay Leader spoke, I said a few words and then our Bishop told about his life, preached, and answered questions.  At the end our our time together, I was asked to help the Bishop serve communion to this group of pastors.  Among them were two pastors that were once at my home church.  What an honor it was to serve communion alongside our Bishop to those who serve their congregations. 

Bishop Carter preached from John 15, which has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now.  It's amazing how God can bring a passage to your mind, you meditate on it, and then a while later, you hear someone speak to it.  These are the pieces I've been thinking about:

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." 

Apart from me you can do nothing.  How many times do I try to rely on my own strength, my own capabilities.  God tells me right here that without Him, I can't do it. 

Then v. 16-17  "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other."

What a thought that God would choose me...that He would appoint me to anything, let alone to Kingdom work.  To work that really matters.  That's exactly what He did.  He appointed me so that I might go and bear fruit that will last.  This isn't some little menial task He is appointing me to, this is important work to bear good fruit that will last.  I'm not qualified for this.  I don't know what to say or how to say it.  I don't know what to do or how to do it.  This is where the Apart from me you can do nothing comes in.  If God is the power and brains behind all of it, and I am an empty vessel, waiting and willing for Him to use me, it can be done. 

Then that command to Love each other.  Some people are easy to love.  I have a feeling that isn't who God is talking about.  If it were, He wouldn't have to say it 'cause I already love them.  It's those people who get under my skin, those people who rub me the wrong way, those are the people God was talking about.  Ouch!  Do I really have to?  See v. 16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you..."  That's not the easy answer, but God says that with Him all things are possible.  So I'm praying that God will help me to see others through His eyes, help me to love those that are hard to love and that I will remain in Him, because apart from Him I can't do anything. 

I don't know what is in store for me, but I do know that because God has led me to this place in this time, I will trust in Him to equip me to do His work.  My prayer is that together God and I will bear fruit that will last. 

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