Hall: Fruitful and gifted

Published 10:56 am Friday, May 11, 2018

Have you ever been “wowed” by someone?

I’ve had experiences at concerts and sporting events where someone’s ability was on display and it just left me in awe. Before bed sometimes, I find myself drifting off as I watch “People Are Awesome” on Facebook, where people’s random skills are broadcast to the world.

Even in church circles, I’ve been moved by incredibly talented musicians and singers, heard articulate, gifted speakers and even talked with the spiritually-gifted who provided answers to my secret prayers at God’s direction.

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It’s easy to be in awe of and celebrate giftedness like that!

Yet in John 15:16 (NKJV), Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name He may give you.”

With some of His last words on Earth, Jesus points to fruitfulness not giftedness. What was meant by that?

For starters, Jesus said God chooses people. Good news: You’ve been chosen. If no one else ever chooses you for anything, Jesus chose you, died for you and rose from the dead, all for you.

Jesus paid for your soul on purpose, for a purpose; a purpose that through Him, you can accomplish. But that purpose is about fruitfulness and giftedness.

For clarity, Jesus wasn’t commissioning people to be fruit farmers. He was talking to people who grew their own food, so being the master communicator He was, He used examples they could understand to convey heavenly principles. Jesus didn’t say, “…and that your gifts should remain…”

One might say, “Surely Jesus knew gifts were more effective. Gifts stir people! Giftedness makes room for us! Giftedness propels us into prominence!”

Perhaps, but what if Jesus is letting us in on a more profound truth? What if Jesus is giving us insight into what really leaves a lasting impact?

In Galatians 5:22-23, the Apostle Paul lists nine things labeled as the “fruit of the spirit:” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Paul was a gifted theologian and wrote much concerning the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, but the fruit is what Jesus said would remain.

I’d like to make one more distinction — these are the fruit of the Holy Spirit growing in us. It’s not our human version of these things because human love, for example, is flawed since it’s sourced in flawed humans.

It’s not our capacity for joy, peace or kindness. No, these are sourced in the Holy Spirit of God.

It’s His love through us!

It’s His joy in the middle of our circumstances.

It’s His peace that surpasses our understanding of what life throws our way.

As believers in Jesus, let’s not get hung up on giftedness, talent or ability. Instead, let us give permission to the Holy Spirit by submitting to His fruit growing in our lives.
On my own, I only have so much love in me, only so much joy or kindness.

People may not remember my sermons or charity work, but I can leave a legacy of fruitfulness that glorifies my Father in Heaven and changes those around me. Christ in me, the hope of glory, and His Holy Spirit can do exceedingly above what I bring to the table.

When God sources it, He upholds it, and He gives it longevity in this world.

Rev. Matt Hall is youth pastor of HERO Students ministry at Church of the Living God, located at 114 Franklin Ave. He can be reached at revmatthewthall@aol.com.