Then all the Churches will know that I am the one who searches men’s hearts and minds, and that I will reward each one of you according to your deeds. Revelation 2:23
I have been thinking about by your fruits you shall know them all weekend from Carmel-by-the-Sea where I have been dropped smackdab into the middle of oh-so-many-of-Alan-childhood stories,
And the six cousins and their wives and their children and sundry tag-a-longs such as myself all gathered in a sprawling mansion at the very top of the hillside overlooking the shimmering sea to celebrate the eighty-fifth birthday of Uncle Bob.
The candles glowed brightly, the horseradish-smeared prime rib and bacon-drizzled roasted potatoes were yummy, and every conversation had both depth and heft. And as Uncle Bob rose up to welcome the accolades it was clear what his fruit was, what would remain: the roomful of bold, creative, kindly, generous and very tall souls. And the stories are not always neat and tidy and certainly there was a fair amount of pruning parts, but that is how are hearts are made tender for fresh growth. And the seeds were sown deeply in fertile soil, often the path less traveled.
And the beach slopes are covered with flowering succulents that take one’s breath away with their unique beauty, each and every one.
And there will come a time when all of the empty words and hollow vows will burn away, And we will know the One who searches hearts and minds.
And until that day, may I abide, remain.
I am the real vine, my Father is the vine-dresser. He removes any of my branches which are not bearing fruit and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit to increase its yield. Now, you have already been pruned by my words. You must go on growing in me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share my life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away. He becomes just like the dry sticks that men pick up and use for the firewood. But if you live your life in me, and my words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like and it will come true for you. This is how my Father will be glorified—in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples. John 15