One Hit Wonders
Chuck Allen, Lead Pastor
Radio stations have been filled with songs affectionately known as “one-hit wonders.” From The Safaris’ “Wipe Out,” to Jeannie Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA,” to Vickie Lawrence’s “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia,” music history is littered with singers who thought they’d stay in the spotlights once they got there. For hundreds of musicians with one-hit wonders, however, the glory was short-lived.
Short-lived glory is child’s play compared to our task as fruit-bearing FOLLOWERS OF JESUS. The fruit we produce as followers of Jesus can’t fade away like a dusty Album, 8-Track or Cassette. (If you’re wondering what an “8-track” is, you’re proving my point.) Jesus asked his followers to bear “fruit that remains.”
John 15:5-8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is 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 given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
BEARING FRUIT IS HEALTHY, WEALTHY & WISE
It’s a job, because we have to work at it with intentionality, but it’s a joy because we are the recipients of that blessing!
Ask any farmer, and certainly, any vineyard owner. If you’d like grapes during the harvest season, you’ll have to work hard in every other season. The vineyard owner who decides to take a week off, or sleep in every morning, shouldn’t plan on seeing much of a harvest.
And so it is with our walk with Jesus…If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life – As an individual, and as a church body, We must realize that Jesus commanded us to a process of diligent work that will last our entire lives. If we ever expect to fulfill his command to “bear fruit,” we can’t be sporadic in our labor. On the other hand, if we’ll be about the process, the harvest will be unforgettable.
The key is remaining in Christ (John 15:5). That’s where the work is. It’s the work of reading the Bible, understanding the Bible, setting up a regular routine of authentic prayer, and being involved with a dynamic church fellowship on a regular basis. It’s the hard work of trusting God with your time, treasures and talents. It’s the hard work of actually doing what the Bible commands us to do, and bearing the fruit we were designed to bear.
A vineyard owner’s work is never done. Instead, a vine keeper works a cycle of tasks. In the winter, correct pruning will determine the size of the harvest months later. Repairs must be made to the guiding trellises. In the spring, wayward vines have to be cut free from ground, and placed back on the trellis. The summer requires the proper amount of rain, sunshine, and patience. Disease and insects are natural enemies that must be battled in every season. In the harvest season, the work is long and hard – although very rewarding. Immediately after the harvest, the preparatory steps for the work of the winter begin.
“Bearing fruit” has often been applied to evangelism, but it is certainly not limited to winning people to Christ. It’s a freeing thought to remember that each of us is created differently, with a unique blend of spiritual and natural gifts. You’ve got a spiritual “thumbprint,” so to speak, that’s different from mine, and my spiritual thumbprint is certainly different from the next person’s. Add to that thought the development the spiritual fruits of Galatians 5:22-23, and it’s suddenly clear that every effort of producing patience, gentleness, or self-control can be part of my life’s harvest.
It’s a shame to see long-time Christians who have given up developing the gifts of love, joy and peace, patience, kindness or goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If that kind of empty basket is unsatisfying to us on earth, imagine how frustrating it must be from God’s point of view!
Casual Commitments Deliver Fruitless Lives.
You know why I’m fully committed? You ever seen those dead possums lying in the middle of the road? Those were partially committed possums!” And as he said, “I don’t want to be partially committed.” A casual commitment produces problems in a lot of areas!
In this last teaching, Jesus said it clearly, “apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:5b-6)
Churches, including this one are filled to capacity with Casual One Hit Spiritual Wonders
The Greater the Commitment, the More Fruitful our Lives
There are different levels of commitment. When Dr. David Livingstone was working in Africa, a group of friends wrote him: “We would like to send other men to you. Have you found a good road into your area yet?” Dr. Livingstone sent this message in reply: “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”
The ultimate form of commitment will produce the most incredible fruit imaginable. “If you abide in me,” Jesus told those disciples (John 15:7), “and my word abides in you, ask what you will, and you shall have it.” Is that possible? Sure it is. “Abiding” is “staying.” It’s where you live. If we choose a lifestyle that has constant connection with Christ, the abiding happens. It’s as natural as a vineyard owner working his crop on a year-round basis. There’s nothing extraordinary about a hard-working farmer. It’s normal, actually, to expect that a farmer would plan his entire day, and the entire year, around the farming process. That farmer knows: The greater his commitment, the greater his harvest.
It may take seasons of preparation, planting, watering, cultivating and fighting the enemy, but like a farmer doing the same thing in his fields, the harvest is a natural part of such a process. A church making an increased commitment to bearing fruit will, in due time, see amazing things happen.
Isn’t it interesting that One Hit Wonders are often remembered, but we rarely know the creator of the song? The fruit that we leave in our wake – belongs to God – Jesus made it clear right from the start. He’s the vine, and we’re the branches. The fruit may appear from the work of our lifetimes, but just as a branch has complete dependence upon the vine, we have complete dependence upon Jesus. Never has a branch owned the vineyard, and never should any Christian boast about his or her personal harvest. The branch produces fruit for the vineyard owner. Our fruit is produced for the glory of God.
Imagine that moment when you stand before the God of all the universe, clothed in the grace provided for you, so delighted to stand in a place so perfect, so heavenly, so eternal. The weight of our sin that once felt so great will have been taken away by the gift of the cross. The “fruit” of the life of Jesus will be his gift, in that first moment of eternity, to you! Can we really comprehend the slightest inkling of what that moment will be like?
Imagine one more thing in that same moment. Perhaps the fruit of your life will be prepared, symbolically, for you to present to the Savior who gave everything for you. He gives you the gift of eternity, and you’ll give him the gift of your life’s work.
Our lives are to be so overwhelmed with the power and presence of Jesus that we would never be seen as One Hit Wonders!
You see, a One Hit Wonder is determined by the external source of how people around the globe respond to the music…and music is always subject to the ear of the listener…In our choosing to walk, rest and rely on Jesus, His response is al that determines if we are a hit!
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