I grew up in a basketball family. My dad was a coach at our high school, and I practically grew up with a basketball in my hand. I remember one time in middle school I was shooting around at practice and the team needed another player. They asked if I’d like to play. I was immediately flooded with anxiety. Am I really good enough to play with these guys? What if I mess up? What if they laugh at me?
Thankfully, I didn’t miss my opportunity. I jumped in and gave it a go. Early on, I remember feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing, but after playing with them a while I started to feel comfortable. I even scored occasionally and made some plays. The more I played with these bigger, stronger guys the more I learned to play the game well. Looking back, I’m really glad I accepted these early opportunities to get in the game.
Today, Boundless is launching ROCK THE BODY — a campaign to inspire you to go deeper in your church involvement. We believe that engaging at church is an essential maturity marker for young adults. Like my younger self, young adults have a similar opportunity to get in the game. Instead of making plays on the basketball court, you can make plays for the kingdom of God.
In the final week before the cross, Christ had a lot of things on His mind. He’d been doing life and ministry with these 12 men, and they would continue the work after He was gone. He looked at these guys and fully understood both their weaknesses and potential. In John 14-16, I believe He gave them a kind of final pep talk. He was preparing them for the tough road ahead and knew it would be tempting to give up. And so Jesus encouraged them with an illustration:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1-5).
I love this illustration. In it, Christ assumes there would be believers who would bear much fruit and there would be believers who wouldn’t. And He pleads with these guys — as He pleads with us — to be the fruit-bearing type. Christ summarizes His entire ministry into fruit and instructs them to keep bearing more and more fruit. He was imploring them to keep going, to live a fruitful life.
One of the tragedies of our day is how many people are content to bear little or no fruit for Christ. They are content to do other things when Christ invites them to come and be fruitful for His sake. Several months ago, I added a picture of a vineyard as my Facebook cover photo. I posted it to remind myself to keep bearing fruit. I never want to be satisfied with a little fruit here and there. I want to bear a whole vineyard of fruit for the Lord.
One of the greatest reasons to plug deeper into your local church is that it will make you a fruitful person. It’s at church believers come together with other believers and use their gifts to encourage, serve and equip. Church is a place we learn how to bear fruit in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In the next weeks, we’ll be inviting you to get more involved in your church because — like Christ — we want you to bear much fruit. You might feel inadequate or anxious about your own abilities, but Christ reminds that He will be with us and help us grow in fruitfulness. Imagine a vineyard full of fruit and imagine another vineyard dead and fruitless. Which one would you like to be a picture of your life? In the weeks ahead, I encourage you to rock the body, get in the game and bear much fruit for God.