John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
As always, Jesus tells it like it is, and the news can seem a bit disheartening. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. He doesn’t say we will accomplish a little bit, or that we’ll do fairly well. We can do nothing apart from him. Nothing of value. Not a thing that has eternal implications.
But there is hope in the preceding statement. If we remain in him, if we learn to abide and live in his presence, then we will not bear some fruit or occasional fruit, but much fruit. Without him, there will be no harvest. With him, we will sow the mustard seeds of our imperfect faith and reap a plentiful crop of healing and love—of life.
People come to us with overwhelming needs. They’re sick, stressed, and scared. They’re anxious, feeling like they’ve reached a dead-end street, and they lose hope. If they see Christ’s face on our faces and feel his healing touch through our surrendered hands, they will be drawn to the God who longs to comfort and heal them.
When we stay close to Jesus while caring for people, he transforms our experience. The fruit of the Spirit abounds. There is joy, peace, and gentleness. There is goodness and kindness. He gives us wisdom, and we share hope. It’s not easy to do this consistently. But when we seek God’s presence in the midst of our busy and stressful days, he does not disappoint us. Jesus draws near to us.
One of the benefits of this conference is to seek others who have learned to do this well. Connect with them, share your struggles, and ask them questions. Learning to abide in Christ at all times will change your life, and it will transform what you do for others.