"Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me."
~ John 15:4
Over the years, I have learned that there is a difference between being successful and being fruitful.
Success is something that seems to be centered on control and respect. It is about creating something and steering it in a direction or course that you plan, until it becomes something of worth. Success can bring about many things, including notoriety and fame.
Fruitfulness, however, comes from a different place.
Years ago I met a young man who was living on the streets of Houston. He had left his home when he was only 15 and by the time he was nineteen when I met him, he had already experienced a lifetime. For nearly a year a group of us from our church worked hard to nurture and get him the resources he needed to move from the streets into a life where he might do more than just "survive." A place where he might be "fruitful."
What we discovered is that when he began to share of his brokenness, he began to grow stronger. It was in his vulnerability, a new and safe intimacy was created, and his wounds were suddenly seen as not scars, but strengths.
Intimacy is fruitfulness that is born out of reaching out and touching one another's wounds.
Three years after meeting him, a group of us celebrated his successful completion of a program that allowed him to work with other youth who were experiencing what he had gone through. His woundedness became fruitfulness.
Being successful is great in the eyes of the world, but what brings us true joy is not successfulness, but fruitfulness.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.