I John 4:7-21
We live in a culture that expects us to be fruitful and productive. We are encouraged to produce, to accomplish, to achieve. We are rewarded for our efforts and applauded for our successes. Our ability to produce or to achieve heightens our worth in the eyes of others, and often in our own eyes as well. We feel good about ourselves when we are able to accomplish important tasks or achieve ‘success’; we despair when we feel that we have accomplished little, or when our accomplishments seem less significant than those of others.
God is interested in our fruitfulness and productivity as well, but in ways that are significantly different from those which society values. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus reveals the source and secret of fruitfulness, drawing on the familiar imagery of the vine and the branches. I’d like to explore that image with you this morning, by looking at three things: (1) the source of fruitfulness; (2) the secret of fruitfulness; and (3) the signs of fruitfulness.