What is the "Father's Glory"?
For reading & meditation: John 15:1-11
"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (v.8)
Over these last few days, we have been seeing that just as Christ came face to face with the issue - To die or not to die - so also must we, His disciples, face a similar challenge. It is one of the axioms of the Christian life that in order to realise God's purposes in our lives, we must be prepared to die to all self-interest. Why is this so necessary? What possible purpose can our Lord have in making such a demand? Our text for today gives us the answer: "This is my Father's glory, that you may bear fruit in plenty and so be my disciples" (NEB). The Father's "glory" is what? Rainbows? Waterfalls? Chanting angels? No, the Father's "glory" is men and women who bring forth fruit in plenty. Is your life fruitful? Does it yield a rich harvest from which your Lord will derive eternal pleasure? If not, then perhaps the reason is that your are "a corn of wheat afraid to die". You draw back from experiences which are designed, not to demean you, but to develop you. And if you are afraid to die, then, as Jesus put it, you "remain only a single seed". A women once came up to me after I had preached a sermon on this theme, and said: "Why is God so cruel in demanding so much of us?" She meant: Why does God demand the one and only thing I own - me, myself? It seemed to her that she would be consenting to her own extinction. She saw only what she had to give up - not what she had to gain. If we are to win this battle, then we must do as Jesus did and continually focus our gaze on the fact that beyond the chosen way of the cross lies ultimate power and victory.
My Father and my God, I do not want to shirk, to dodge, or to put things off. Help me, and help me now, to face this issue of the death of my self-interests so that it is settled once and for all. Amen.
For further study:
1. What is God's purpose for us?
2. What does that entail?