What is your favorite fruit? Do you have a new favorite fruit from your mission site? Is there a certain fruit you miss from home? I remember my first experience as a volunteer, serving as a student missionary in New Zealand. The area I lived in was known for its fruit—apples, kiwifruit, grapes, berries, citrus, cherries, peaches…ok, you get the idea. There was one fruit I had never heard of before called “feijoa.” I tried to explain it to my family at home, but it was hard: “It’s kind of like a kiwi, but less furry?” I just knew it was good, and I ate a lot of it.
Here is a shocking fact about feijoas, and any real fruit: they are not manufactured. There is no feijoa factory. Fruit is the natural result of a healthy tree and a hard-working gardener. The gardener prepares the soil, provides enough water, and keeps the birds and insects away. The tree absorbs and distributes the nutrients and produces branches and fruit. If a branch is disconnected, it dies. No fruit. You probably recognize that Jesus talked about this in John 15. Our Father is the gardener; Jesus is the tree (or vine); we are the branches; the fruit is the result of our connection with Jesus. The bottom line is that our life and fruit (our spiritual growth and results in our mission work) do not come from our own efforts to manufacture it. It only comes from staying connected to Jesus. If you want to work at something, work at spending time with Jesus. Don’t worry about the results—the fruit will naturally come, because the Gardener and the Tree will provide everything to make it happen.
Remember: real fruit comes from connection. Fake fruit is manufactured, but is only nice to look at. Perhaps you can take a few moments to read through John 15 again, and ask Jesus how this applies to your life and mission work.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers, for some extra inspiration and encouragement.