deadlines can be "lifelines"
"In answer, the man said, 'Sir, leave it another year while I hoe around it and manure it; then perhaps it will bear fruit. If not, it shall be cut down.' " —Luke 13:8-9
The Lord has stated clearly that He expects us to bear fruit which is abundant (Jn 15:5) and lasting (Jn 15:16). He has given us all we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of holiness (see Gal 5:22-23), and the fruit of evangelization.
If we are truly holy, we will evangelize effectively. The Lord is patient with us. He does not expect us to bear fruit overnight (see Mk 4:27), but He will not wait for our fruit forever. For example, sometimes the Lord sets a deadline of one more year (see Lk 13:8). If we do not accept His grace to bear fruit within a year, then the deadline will literally be our spiritual death. However, God wills that the deadline be a "lifeline" — the time of full life and fruitfulness.
We bear fruit by:
- abiding in Jesus (Jn 15:5),
- repenting and being pruned (Jn 15:2),
- letting our soil be cultivated (see Lk 13:8) by God the Father, the Vinegrower (see Jn 15:1),
- letting ourselves be fertilized (see Lk 13:8) by "the discipline of the Lord" (Heb 12:5), and
- the power of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8).
Bear fruit for Jesus. The clock is ticking. Will God's deadline be your lifeline?
Prayer: Father, may I love You and people so much that I will not settle for anything less than bearing maximum fruit.
Promise: "There is no condemnation now for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the spirit, the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has freed you from the law of sin and death." —Rm 8:1-2
Praise: Fruit of Mary's life of faith was manifested in two of her sons, who became priests.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Evangelization on audio AV 58-3 or video V-58.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, April 24, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 28, 2003