John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Colleges periodically go through a process to have their accreditation re-affirmed and extended. It is a significant two year process and we at Williamson Christian College are approaching the culmination of it. I have learned that the whole process focuses on outcomes – what are we producing.
Apparently, years ago, the focus used to be more on resources – what you put into it. While that is still very important, it’s the results, referred to as outcomes that are key. Another way of putting it is are we producing quality fruit?
The process involves addressing lots of questions: What have we done? Where are we? What do we want to accomplish? Where are we weak? What strategies must we implement to become stronger? Are we producing good fruit? Are we producing fruit commensurate with the opportunities and resources given us? We are held accountable by our accrediting organization (ABHE) – and by ourselves. It’s not enough to have good intentions and lots of effort.
I am struck by how this process and these questions apply to our lives as Christians. Think about them in relationship to yourself, your family, your church, your small group, your ministry or your relationships. Outcomes are important. God’s word lets us know what they should be. God wants us to be fruitful. But remember the issue isn’t focused so much on the quantities but on the qualities reflected by whom we are and what we do.
John 15 talks about Jesus being the vine; we are the branches; and the Father is the Gardener. He will do what it takes for the branches to bear fruit. He helps us discover weaknesses in our lives, goals we are to achieve – all manner of things. These are daily occurrences in His ‘School of the Spirit’. He wants us to respond to Him and respond appropriately. This is how we bear fruit. He is after ‘sweet fruit’ not ‘sour grapes’. We must understand the blessing it is that He is holding us accountable; after all, the goal is for people to see Jesus when they interact with us.