Author’s Note: I wrote this post a few years ago as a very new ministry leader. Looking back now, with 20/20 hindsight, I can see that the truth of these words only rings truer with each passing day. I pray my testimony blesses you in your leadership journey.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:5-8 (NIV, emphasis mine)
As a new leader, my first and greatest lesson thus far has come as the Lord was preparing me to serve.
A couple of years ago, I recall a fervent time of prayer and seeking the Lord for wisdom and revelation in being used for His Kingdom. As I confessed my love for Him and my desire to be used, I requested a vision for my life. I wanted God to help me see past my current situation into a future of greater purpose and influence.
The Lord faithfully answered my urgent prayers. The answer, however, was not what I hoped or expected.
The Lord simply whispered, “Abide.”
One word! It was a verb at least - an action I could carry out. Afterall, I was eager to DO something. Upon closer inspection, though, “abide” seemed like a whole lot of INaction and more of the same. What I didn’t realize is that the Lord had answered my prayer and provided profound, life-changing instructions.
I was seeking Him for a grand assignment. He was calling me into a deep dependence.
As Jesus describes in John 15, a time of pruning the fruitful branches has followed. A time of pruning the dead and dry has also followed. As the Vinedresser, my Father has carefully and lovingly begun curating my branches in preparation for the appointed seasons of growth and bloom only He can see. With His steady hand, He is crafting and clarifying that vision I had so ardently longed after. Instead of revealing the entire picture at once, He is leading me step-by-step, one day at a time in obedience and service as I learn to rest in His faithfulness.
As I dwell in Him, He dwells in me. My daily prayer is to be present and remain - abide - vitally connected to the Vine. He has promised to do the rest, and I believe Him.
- Pastor Erin