There is a pattern in my life that I would like to describe in this article. The reason I want to review the events I am going to describe is because I believe the pattern is universal is the sense that a spiritual principle is involved for all believers. One of the scriptures that support this belief is found in the Final Discourses of Jesus:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15: 9 – 17 NIV)
This is a very familiar passage. I have read and quoted it many times and have considered it through many years and in relationship to many situations. Yesterday I had a task before me that intimately involved this passage. My wife, Helen, and I were scheduled to visit a friend in an assisted living retirement home. This visit involved driving for four hours each way; additional driving to go out to lunch; and spending time with a person who consistently speaks very negatively about herself. To speak frankly, we were going to visit a person who was “hard to love.” Since our whole purpose of visiting was to encourage and express our love for this person; my enthusiasm for the visit was low. Basically, I did not believe that our visit would be positive and productive. Yet, I did believe that I was fulfilling the command of Jesus to: “Love each other.”
Let my give the conclusion of the visit before I give the glorious events that happened along the way. The visit was very positive, very encouraging for Helen and me, and very encouraging for the person we went to visit. Smiles and hugs were a part of the visit and sincere and meaningful, positive conversation became part of the exchange. Our visit was not only appreciated but seemed to have a very positive affect.
The glorious events that happened along the way will need some brief explanation to relate these events to the quoted scripture. The particular part of the scripture I am making reference to is, “Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” Helen and I are involved in several projects related to furthering the kingdom of God. These include the ministry of Living Fully; leading the Church on the Way; and establishing churches and a Bible School in Kenya, Africa. All of these ministries involve web sites published on the internet. I have been considering for a long time how these ministries interrelate and what needs to be published on each of these web sites. Basically, what I have been contemplating is what our heavenly Father wants me to do on a daily basis to make these ministries fulfill the scripture of “bearing fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” In other words, how to fit into God’s plans and purposes.
Well, as we traveled to our visit in the morning God began to reveal to me how these ministries interrelate and what my daily tasks will be in relationship to each one, including how to update the web sites for each ministry. I dictated these revelations to Helen as we drove and so we now have a plan and purpose before us. Our task now becomes to grasp this revelation and complete the daily assignments as we go forward. In other words, believe what has been revealed and follow the daily leading of the Holy Spirit as we progress with God’s plan. Or, to put it another way, to grasp the promises of God and watch as He carries them to completion.
The lesson shown here is that when we follow the command of Jesus to love each other; the promise of God that we will have whatever we ask for to bring fruit that will last into the kingdom will be fulfilled. As you can see I am preaching more to myself than to my readers. The encouragement here is about following the command to love each other now matter the cost and the promise of God will them develop according to His plan and purpose.