The picture above may not look like much. Actually, it isn’t much. It’s a picture of three small mandarin oranges. But they were given to me as a very sentimental gift. That’s because they come from a sermon illustration I used back in August of 2014. You can see the tree they come from in this sermon called “The Vine.”
One of our staff in Creative Arts planted the tree at his in-laws house after we were done and a few years later I now get to see fruit from that tree. It reminds me of the lessons I take away from John 15 (as I explore in the video), but also of the beauty of delayed gratification. The whole point of John 15 and the tree I used was to experience the fruit of healthy living in Christ. It’s the results we so badly want to see in life but often don’t know how to get there. As I used that tree to illustrate John 15 it seemed that fruit was far away.
Yet this reminds us that we are unable to make fruit happen by ourselves. It is only when we remain connected to the source of life that the signs of life begin to manifest. “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.” (John 15:5). If you want to be more patient, or humble, or kind, or teachable, or willing to sacrifice, or selfless, or any other number of Christlike attitudes it will take you more than effort and discipline.
And if you watch the video (or have a killer memory), that banana can’t remotely keep up with these little oranges. It rotted and decomposed a long time ago. My words were prophetic… “that sucker’s gonna die.” You may be able to fake the appearance of spiritual health in life, but eventually the fruit tells the real story.
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