You Can Do Nothing (So Pray!)
It was not one of my finer moments. When I was kid, we had a lemon tree. I have no idea why we had one—it wasn’t like we drank lots of lemonade or anything—but we had a lemon tree. The only problem with the lemon tree was that it made no lemons. As in, none. Ever. The only things that lemon tree ever produced were leaves and thorns. And that’s why I was so shocked when I came home one day and there were lemons all in the lemon tree. Branches were bending, and bright, yellow lemons dotted the tree. It was like something out of a magazine, and I stood there shaking my head in amazement at what I was seeing. Explanation? Well, two explanations, really: 1) My mother had bought a bag of lemons and 2) I have three older brothers (maybe I should have realized that lemons don’t have Del Monte stickers on the vine).
Jesus spoke about fruit often, didn’t He? Indeed, one of His famous “I am” statements in the Gospel of John employs this metaphor:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.(John 15:5)
That’s a challenging verse, but Jesus couldn’t be clearer. Fruit must appear on the vine before it appears on the table. It can’t be manufactured, faked, fast-tracked, or stapled to the vine (or nested in the tree by your older brothers). It must be grown—slowly, steadily, dependently. And all of that underscores the necessity of prayer. Fruit is outside of our control, but it’s right in God’s wheelhouse.
Our move to Green Springs is filled with potential. It’s exciting to think about what might happen and what God might do. But let’s make sure that we do more than think. Let’s pray…
Let’s pray for faithfulness– Abiding is not optional but essential. Let’s ask God to make us “faithful to His dear cause,” as we often sing. Faithful to pray, faithful to preach and hear, faithful to worship, faithful to share, faithful to give, and faithful to follow.
Let’s pray for unity– The Evil One wants to divide the people of God, and no doubt would take special delight in dividing us over something good. Let’s ask God to sync our hearts with one another by tuning them all to Christ.
Let’s pray for fruitfulness– Paul planted. Apollos watered. God gave the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). Let’s work unto the Lord (see “faithfulness” above), but let’s not forget to ask for God to provide what only He can. God alone raises the dead to life. Let’s ask Him to do that.
Let’s pray for energy– I’m kind of tired thinking about all that’s involved in the move, from chairs to move, to processes to create, to offices to set up. This will be a busy (but good!) season for our church. Let’s ask God to “put strength in every stride.”
Let’s pray for spiritual insight—How easy would it be to trust in a building? “Now God will do that! Now we’ll be able to do this!” But our confidence is misplaced if it’s anywhere other than God. Let’s ask God to make us even more reliant upon Him than we are right now. Can we have too much faith in God?
Let’s pray for humility– God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Let’s ask God to grant greater humility in all areas of our church. The lower we are in our own estimation, the more we are positioned for greatness in the hands of the Lord.
Truly, is anything more needed than prayer? And, sadly, is anything more often neglected than prayer? To return to the illustration above, too often we’d like to place fruit rather than wait on fruit. But God is a gracious God, eagerly waiting for us to turn to Him. Let’s do it. Early, often, and ever. Who knows what God may do through a church fully trusting in Him?
More in The CFC Blog
July 6, 2020Planting Trees: Sowing Gospel Seeds in the Next Generation
July 3, 2020CFC Kids Summer Update
July 2, 2020CFC Worship Update