Scripture: John 15:12-27
Key verses: (16-17) “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
Reflection: Sometimes in the work and ministry of helping others we forget Jesus’ command to love one another. At the Last Supper, Jesus reminded his disciples that they were his friends, connected to each other in common life and ministry. He tells them to love one another as he loves them. It may seem obvious that we are to love one another and relate to each other as beloved brothers and sisters, but I suspect we don’t think much about it. Jesus knew that it wouldn’t be very long before he was arrested, tried and executed. These events would scatter the disciples and their loyalties and love would be tested. Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him three times, and the other disciples ran and hid. After his death, the disciples were together, hiding, in fear for their lives. They were grieving the loss of a loved one. Did they criticize each other and refuse to forgive? We don’t know. The story tells us they prayed and worshiped. They stayed together which says a lot about their love for each other. They lived out Jesus’ command to love while living under tremendous stress. Remembering that Jesus had chosen them gave them the determination to continue God’s mission.
As we go about God’s appointed mission, we may face tough situations and experience people who let us down, try our patience, or turn their backs. In spite of this, we are to bear fruit in God’s name to fulfill God’s desires; not our own. We are called to a high standard – to love the way Christ loves us. What might happen if we reminded ourselves of this every time we went into a meeting, or worked together to make a decision? Everything would change! We would remember who has sent us and this would give us humility, grace, and most of all love for one another.
Prayer: Gracious God, forgive us when we put our mission, our needs and desires, before your own. Forgive us for thinking that this ministry is ours when it belongs to you. Transform us by your Holy Spirit so that we might be the people of God you have called us to be and love one another as you command. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].