Happy Thanksgiving! Warty gourds decorate our porches and tables, the bronzed aspen leaves have dropped, and more importantly, it’s pumpkin-spice-your-life season. These days, pumpkin spice lattes, muffins, and even hummus don’t quite cut it. Now you can add it to your bathroom routine too because someone decided to make pumpkin spice toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo!
2020 is sure an interesting time to be alive. How often have you had that thought this year? Interesting, frustrating, heartbreaking, surprising, challenging, lonely, growing… piles of words have been used to describe 2020. But as we reflect the important holiday of Thanksgiving, I’d like you to consider another word:
Has this year been fruitful for you?
We decorate our tables with strange gourds and dried ears of corn not because they’re cheaper than roses, but because they represent being fruitful. While the first pilgrims and farmers are thankful for the fruit produced from their fields, Christians look for a different kind of fruit.
John 15:1-4 “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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
It can be difficult to see the fruit from your life in a curveball year, but these verses promise you that God has given you everything you need to bear juicy fruit.
Your Father is the gardener.
A gardener has to be very careful about where they decide to plant. The soil, climate, and sunlight all determine how fruitful the plant will be. With God as your gardener, you can trust that he was very careful about where he planted you. You are not a seed haphazardly blown somewhere. You were planted into your family in this time and place for a reason. You are a part of the LuHi community with your teachers and friends for a purpose. You are created with specific talents and personality traits to bear fruit.
You are already clean.
You are a branch stemming from the true vine: Jesus. “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you,” says verse 3. Jesus gives us all the nutrients we need through Baptism water, in his body and blood on the cross and every time we take communion, and through the Son-light of his Word that we should soak up daily.
Remain in me as I also remain in you.
When you remain in Jesus, he is in you! This means you act like him. Remember WWJD? It’s a real thing. According to Galatians 5:22 and 23, it means that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control will be bursting from your life like the juice from stomped grapes at harvest time.
So, has this year been fruitful for you?
We’ve all been challenged in ways we didn’t expect this year. In times like this, we can turn inward to ourselves (sin) or we can turn to Jesus, bearing His fruit to feed the world. As you pray to close this devotion, ask God to help you answer these questions:
How did I turn inward this year? What do I need to confess?
What fruits of the Spirit has God grown in my character this year?
What fruits of the Spirit do I need to ask God to help me grow?
Prayer: Father, thank you for purposefully planting me in this time and place. Teach me to trust you as my gardener and to stay rooted in Jesus. Help me grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In your name I pray, Amen.