Saturday, September 24, 2016

Year 6, Day 267: Zechariah 8

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Discipleship Focus: Bear Fruit

  • Bear Fruit: We bear fruit after we grow.  Bearing fruit is ultimately the goal of abiding and the goal of being called into the Kingdom of God.  However, while bearing fruit is our calling, it is not the end.  We bear fruit so that we can then prune, abide, grow, and bear more fruit in another season.  Bearing fruit is not the end, but rather only a portion of the whole rhythm of life into which God has called us.

We cannot focus on bearing fruit and truly be a follower of God.  We can’t start by looking at our fruit.  After all, does a seed give birth to fruit directly?  No, of course not. A seed gives birth to roots, then a stem, then branches, then a stem, and finally the fruit comes.  The same is true about following God.  We cannot believe in God and then immediately look for fruit to appear.  We need to grow, develop, and mature before we can truly expect to bear fruit.

That being said, fruit is the ultimate goal.  While a young follower of God cannot focus on fruit, the mature follower of God should be concerned with fruit.  It is important for those people who have developed and grown and matured to take a look around and see how they can follow and participate in God’s hand at work in the world.

This is the core of what the exile and its return is all about.  God’s people had been blessed by Him.  They had been given an opportunity to grow and mature.  Instead, they took their prosperity and focused on themselves.  They wanted to better their own life and stopped caring about the lives of the people around them.

This is why God gives Zechariah the following message.  “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.

When God asks us to focus on fruit, He wants us to focus on how we treat one another.  He loved us when we did not deserve it.  He restores and redeems us when we do not deserve it.  We should do likewise, imitating His unconditional love in community.