For me, home conjures happy memories. Home is safety and comfort, space and connection. So, when I hear that to abide means to make our home, to take up residence, I hear it as an invitation to rest.
I am in desperate need of rest. Perhaps I would hear this word in any truth spoken today as my recovering perfectionism collides with the reality of single parenting and a job that I love too much to ever really leave at work and resent for exactly that reason. I hear it here in John 15:5.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
We talk about the fruit of our labors. But if you walk into a garden, you don’t hear the branches groaning and travailing to bring forth fruit. They just do it. They are attached to the vine, to the main source, and they have everything they need. The fruit is a natural outgrowth of this arrangement, not something the branches have to work up, stress about and quantify.
Jesus is pretty clear. If we are not taking up residence in him, the fruit of our labors is nothing. Nothing. Bearing fruit is not one more thing to put on our Christian to-do lists. There is no path to much fruit in three easy steps.
I hear this matter of bearing fruit not so much as a command as an invitation. An invitation to abide, to make our home in Christ. To rest in his safety and comfort, space and connection. And to let him take care of the fruit.