Nothing Nothing Nothing
I drove an hour north to a church in Dallas because I wanted to hear my seventy-five-year-old colleague, Dr. Herbert Thompson. He has pastored for a lifetime and teaches with me. All semester, he poured into the lives of the 31 students in our SBI certificate program—bringing biblical training straight into the heart of their local church. Dr. Thompson was introduced to deliver their graduation message, and we all stood for the reading of his text from John 15:1-8, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser…”
I could tell his students cherished their teachers as they enthusiastically responded to his words, but when he powerfully drove home the core of Jesus’ teaching from this upper room discourse given only a few hours before the cross, the message moved deep inside our hearts. “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” “Nothing, Nothing, Nothing!”
I want to believe that I can add something, my linguistic training in Greek and Hebrew, my speaking techniques to capture and hold an audience’s attention, or my clever illustrations that clarify the truth of the sacred text. All these things can be tools if they are in the Spirit’s hands, but when I think that I can generate life, that I can comfort, that I can cause someone to open their soul to Jesus, I’ve missed the whole point. Unless I live in constant dependence upon Jesus’ power working in me, unless I remember that He alone is the vine and I’m only a branch, I can’t bear fruit. Dr. Thompson concluded his message, and I had to drive straight home and face a situation where I would need to see if Jesus could use me to generate comfort and peace.
Tomorrow, we will resume tracking Luke’s Christmas story in our Devo. In fact all this week we will listen to two older saints, like Dr. Thompson, who Luke uses to give us some of the most powerful predictions about Jesus. Today Mary and I wanted to remind you that Truth Encounter is all about the Spirit using us in situations to glorify the One who came to bring peace and comfort. Pray that both of us will continue to let Jesus’ power flow through us and that we will never forget that without Him we can do nothing!
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