Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing devotions based on the United Methodist membership vows, where we pledge to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. This week’s focus is GIFTS.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me.
Despite growing up as a pastor’s kid (or “PK” as we tend to call ourselves), I didn’t grow up with a lot of church-y language. So when I began the ordination process and was asked about the “fruit I bear”, to say I was confused was an understatement. I probably fumbled my way through trying to develop some reasonable answer for that for years before I finally understood the concept. Basically, what was being asked was not whether or not I had gifts or talents, but whether or not they were amounting to anything. Am I bearing fruit with the gifts God has bestowed on me?
In the Gospel of John, where Christ uses this beautiful analogy of the growth of a tree as us branching off of our roots which is Jesus, we’re offered this idea of us, the branches, producing fruit by centering ourselves in God and God’s mission. Gifts should grow and become more beautiful, more active with time.
As we wrap up our week on GIFTS after our previous weeks on prayer and presence, remember to think about our God-given-gifts in terms of the United Methodist membership vows and how when someone becomes a member, they pledge to support the church with their gifts. Step one is identifying what you’re good at (and probably also what you’re not so good at) like we talked about earlier in the week, but step two is working to bear fruit with those gifts.
Root yourself in Christ, and blossom!
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
I spent many years struggling with this question, but today I ask you: do you bear fruit?
Prayer: Tree of life, You God are the roots in which we grow, in which we face toward the light for nutrients, in which we can go from a tiny seed to the large greenery of bearing fruit. May we ground ourselves in You today. Amen.