“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.” John 15:5
One day recently I was wondering what a fruitful life might look like. It may have been spurred by a book I’m reading by Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. My take on the book thus far, and I’m not finished, is two things: One is that we get to cooperate with God in writing our life story and make it into one of passion and meaning. What a cool thought it is to think of life like a story we’re writing. What kind of character am I in the story? What events and conflicts happen to me and how do I handle them? Does any of it have meaning to anyone besides me? What kind of ending would I want to see written into my story? Big questions. But I get to be a co-author of that story with God, who is writing all of our stories.
The stories I like best have redemption in them somewhere. Not that the story has to end happily ever after. Life is more complicated than that. What I look for is something deeper. I’m willing to be dragged along through a fair amount of darkness and despair, as long as I get to see some growth, some change for the better, or what I call redemption somewhere along the way.
The other thought from the book is that the best stories are about taking risks to make a difference in the world, giving of ourselves, being generous and even sacrificial. Sounds like a fruitful life to me. How am I doing with that? This morning I meditated on John 15:5, which expanded the question even more and tied these two threads together. In cooperating with God to write my story, I have all I need to live a fruitful and meaningful life. As it says in the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need.” He inspires me to love, to be generous and kind, to lay down my life, to give sacrificially of my time and energy when my character would rather sit down and read a book. What a dull, self-centered story that would be! I am a branch of his vine, a character with a new chapter to write. What will God and I write into the story today?
Today’s prayer Practice: Meditating on Scripture
Read the scripture from John 15 above and just sit with it. Read it slowly several times. You may want to personalize it, inserting your name any time it says “you.” Put it on the back burner and take it into your day. What does it mean to you to remain in him? Have you ever thought about your life as a story unfolding? What kind of story do you want your life to be? Ask him to inspire new thoughts about how your life might be fruitful in ways that matter. Go for a walk and let yourself just be with God. Notice his handiwork in nature. Let your mind rest. Respond to the beauty of his world. Thank him for the time you shared and for the gift of not only being in your life but helping shape your life story.