Distractions, we all have them. The fact that this post is two days late is proof of that. Sure I could justify the delay by stating I’m on a ministry road trip. Eric Samuel Timm, The Skit Guys & Gunger would all make great scapegoats for my tardiness. But no matter how spiritual I may try to craft my excuse or how big a name my scapegoats have the fact of the matter is that it all just comes down to distractions. Distractions. They are the little foxes which steal the grapes and spoil the vine. Distractions. They nip and gnaw at us…merciless and unrelenting until they have their trophy…our fruitfulness.
Fruitfulness is the result of fellowship with God. It is what the Master looks for when He examines us. Ultimately a lack of fruitfulness reveals a lack of fellowship with God. Jesus explained this scenario in John 15:1-8, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.”
Ouch! Ya know, over the years I learned many lessons the hard way. But perhaps the most painful has been this: Ministry is no substitute for intimacy. Work done for the Lord is no excuse for time not spent in fellowship with the Lord. In fact over time work for the Lord apart from fellowship with the Lord leads to a lack of true fruitfulness.
Many of us begin connected to the Vine. Some even endure long enough to bear fruit, but few remain abiding in the Vine long enough to still be bearing fruit when the Vinedresser comes to reap His harvest. On that day many will be cast out and left wondering in dismay, “How did I get here?” The answer for most will be simple…distractions.