ONLY STRONG BRANCHES CAN BEAR MUCH FRUIT.
"Only strong branches can carry much fruit."
John 15:11-17 Through the eye of a leader developer.
Jesus uses a metaphor to explain the concept of "bearing fruit." We envision a vine and its branches massive with fruits. We also see a gardener watering, nurturing, and pruning the branches that do not bear fruit. Jesus starts by saying He is the true vine; could it be another fake/false vine?
We see a great picture of the Trinitarian image when Jesus says His Father is the gardener, and He is the vine. He introduces "God in us" an invitation to the Triune God. We see the father pruning every branch in Him that does not bear fruit. We notice that He prunes such branches so that they will be even more fruitful and gain health.
We observe the word "remain" ten times in these 17 verses. What does that mean? He talks about remaining in Him and Him in us so we can bear fruit. No branch can bear fruit by itself. What fruit does Jesus refer to here? Could He be referring to the fruit in Galatians 5:22-23; love, joy, peace, Patience, Kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
Jesus uses "Love" eight times to explain the previous verses. He says, "As the Father has loved me, I have loved you." Therefore, he urges us to remain in His love—other promises embedded there for us as well.
What is our role in bearing fruit? His suggestion Remaining "Being." We tend to focus on competence(doing) and content /theory (Know) but not much on Christ-like character (Be) and the need for the community in bearing the fruit (Colwill, 2014).
"Much fruit" does it matter? Jesus seems to be keen that there be much fruit and that it will last. A reminder of keenness on finishing well and healthy as leaders.
Through a leader developer's eye, we need to be careful about mentoring/ coaching emerging leaders. We must point people to Jesus, not to ourselves because we are not the vine He is! We must resist the temptation to develop competence and content at the expense of their formation of Christ (abiding). Through whom they will be able to bear much fruit to glorify God. We are not the life-giving source, and we have to point people to the vine, then they can bear fruit.
How do they bear much fruit if they do not have strong branches? "Ministry flows out of being" (Robert Clinton). Our focus as leaders has to be on character formation, out of which the rest flows. Bearing fruit can only be the best manifest in a community. As leaders, we must provide a community where people can "Be,"; and habits are formed. We must give people spaces to connect to the vine and one another in the community. That means that we must be willing to bear fruit as God-honoring leaders in character and leadership. We must demonstrate a lifelong relationship that impacts the way we lead and live.
1. a) Could it be that we focus on competence(doing),
2. b) and on content /theory (Knowing) more than,
3. c)Or maybe, little on enabling them to "abide" and have a Christ-like character (Being).
4. d)Are we providing a community within which they can bear the fruit? Are we as leaders a community that is learning and practicing abiding together? Do we allow that?
5. e)Are we demonstrating the "being" "abiding" in the way we live and lead as examples.
"If our character is wanting as leaders, we cause multiple effects on the ones we lead and the organizations we lead.
The worst-case scenario is that "if we do not "remain" or "abide" in Him, we will be like branches that will be thrown away and wither." How do we help develop muscle(💪) strong branches that can bear fruit that lasts for God's glory? How do we ensure that bearing fruit becomes a natural thing as a result of abiding?
Are we building good healthy habits with others and Christ? Are we modeling that? Aware that there is much we might have in our hands. There is a need to pause and think through.
Could we together allow God to prune us as?
Yours for God's highest glory.
Gillian G Edube.