A while ago I stumbled upon a phrase that read, “Our effectiveness in ministry is relative to our closeness to Jesus, ” and I thought at the time, what a wonderful and true sentiment it was. After all, any effective ministry is borne out of our deepening relationship with Christ Jesus.
Then I came upon John 15:5.
Of course not.
Might I expect a harvest if I take that same branch and hold it close to the tree, or better yet, prop it up against the trunk?
Once there is a disconnect, fruitful expectations are lost. In order for fruit to develop, the branch must be attached or grafted back in — closeness does not count. John 15:5 drives home the truth that my catchy little phrase misses the mark. Closeness is not the same as being attached.
Is this just a case of semantics, since those in Christ likely consider themselves to be relationally close to Him as well?
Yes, in that case it is a matter of semantics, however the danger exists for those who are not so attached. They have come to falsely believe that an appearance of closeness is sufficient. Perhaps they attend church regularly and participate in religious activities, but there is no connection to the Vine. The fact remains: proximity is a worthless posture to the pruned limb.
Show Me the Fruit
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35
We all know folks (or we might be folks) who claim closeness to Jesus. Despite declarations of faith and love, at the end of the day, barrenness is the evidence bearing witness against those claims. But praise be to God, all is not lost!
That’s not what’s being said in this passage.
The reality is that in our fallen, fruitless condition, God the Father desires to lift us up, graft us in, and nurture us so that we might bear fruit. The warning is for those who are not submitted to this work of the Vinedresser. They are the ones who risk being cast away.
In light of the truth we can say that effectiveness in ministry is relative to our closeness and connection to Jesus.
- Are you connected?
- Are you submitted?
- Is there fruit in your walk with Jesus?
- If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
- What Vine are you Abiding In? (Part 1) (defendingcontending.com)
- Our Life Is In Him (pastorht.wordpress.com)
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