“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:15-16)
I have few friends.
But the ones I do have, each one of them has been chosen by me. I go after what I want.
When I sense something special, a kindred spirit, I have always taken the intiative to call someone up and ask if they would like to have coffee. If it’s right, they call me back next time.
Over the years, my friends and I have come to know that we are committed to each other. When times are good. When times are bad. We just show up. If there is a wedding, I show up to celebrate; if there is a funeral, I show up to mourn; if there is a change in address, I show up (with my husband) to move things. This is what I’ve committed to.
Jesus chose me. I have called Him back. We’ve had coffee! He now calls me, “friend”.
He has committed to me. If I am committed to Him, I need to “show up”. What has He called me to?
“I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
What, exactly, does He mean by this? What does He want me to do?
At this point, I feel like how my husband – my best friend – must feel whenever I say to him, “You would know without me telling you, if you really loved me.” I usually enjoy watching him squirm a while as he wracks his brain to make his love manifest to me.
Likewise, Jesus has said, “My sheep hear My voice”. (John 10:27).
If I’m going to be a good friend, I’m going to have to figure this one out. What does “bearing fruit” look like? And what is “fruit that lasts”?
My turn to squirm. Here I go!
Three verses come to mind:
“Therefore, go and make disciples.” (Acts 28:19);
“Do you love me?…Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17); and,
“Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Quite simply, whatever it is that I do, may it have the effect of making disciples. Whether it be by outright ministry or by some other vocation that God has prepared beforehand for me to do (Ephesians 2:10), or by making a nutritious meal for my family or committing to water a neighbour’s garden while they are on vacation, may my character and excellent comportment lead others to God. And let’s not forget the obvious one: open my mouth! Share the gospel! (Romans 1:16)
Once they have become disciples, we need to feed them. Feeding God’s sheep (our brethren) brings glory to Him. What does feeding look like? Building each other up by fellowship (Acts 2:46), sharing our knowledge and love of His Word (Acts 17:11), praising the Lord in one voice (Ephesians 5:19) praying for one another (James 5:16). These are all acts of “feeding his sheep”.
As far as I can see, this making and feeding of disciples for all eternity is the only kind of fruit that “lasts”. Not the Egyptian pyramids or the Great Wall of China, not War and Peace, not even Michael Jackson’s Thriller. None of it will matter.
So now, why has he tacked on, “…that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you”?
I used to think of this part as the “reward”. Yeah! If I do this for Him, He will give me that! Jaguar convertible, here I come!
But I doubt this is true.
The leading word in that clause, “that” leads me to believe that He will give us whatever we ask, as long as we ask it in the name of bearing fruit that lasts.
Aye, there’s the rub.
Let me ponder this: bearing fruit is what He created me to do. Things that give me purpose and, therefore, joy. Things that make my heart sing, even when they are sometimes difficult. For me, it is teaching at my high school even when teenagers drive me crazy in more ways than I can describe in one language, being a mother even when I feel more like a drill sergeant, continuing to write even when I think no one really cares what I think…
And when I do these things in a way that draws others to God, bearing fruit that lasts, then…
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
I’m not sure what those “desires” will look like, but I think it has something to do with bearing fruit that lasts with all my heart, doing everything as if for God and not for men. Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s it.
And who knows what else? Let me be surprised by the God who loves me, the One who knows how to give good gifts to His children!
But let’s face it – that’s all just gravy.
The God of the Universe has called me up! Chosen me to be his friend.
This is better than a Jaguar.