Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On Obedience and Being Left Out

Jesus expects obedience:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." (John 15:1-2)

Several verses later, Jesus goes on to explain who are the branches (speaking to his followers):

"I am the vine; you are the branches."

This is a weighty statement. And, it makes me tremble. For every christian who does not heed Christ's admonishment to pursue Him and obey, He suggests they will be cut off from Him.

Obedience is not always easy. But, it is good. In the end, the rewards that await the obeying christian far outweight the disobedient. Christ knows the difficulty we face in obeying Him and the fight our flesh puts up.

To His disciples, He says this:

"I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

Jesus again and again, lays out the future that awaits the christian who obeys and follows. It is one full of blessedness and of joy in the "age to come".

As christians, we ought to think hard on this. For those who do not listen to Him and follow - we can be replaced by others who have heeded the call to obey. This is a disconcerning. Do I want someone else to "take my place"? To bear the fruit that I was going to bear?

It's much like the unreluctant worker. When told of his paycheck in the coming weeks, he complains, "it's so hard and takes so much time and..." On and on go the complaints.

Those who obey reap the rewards of obedience and a life lived in the Vine. They see things the disobedient do not see. They are blessed beyond paychecks and nice things. Their hearts are filled to overflowing.

In the end, the fruitful will say, "I gave up nothing - to gain everything."

Lord, help us to obey.

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