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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)

TITLE: A Call to Inaction
By Katherine Hussmann Klemp


1"I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:1-8 NIV

Have you ever longed to serve God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind? Do you want to tell the world about everything He has done in your life and so bring others to saving faith? Do you yearn to do more to serve and feel deep guilt about your lack of devotion? Do you aspire to do great things for your Great God?

Well, I’ve got bad news for you. It ain’t gonna happen. Struggle as you will, it is not God calling you to this work. Even worse, it may be Satan who is whispering this ambitious agenda into your susceptible ear. You do something for God? And just what might that be?

When we ponder on these verses from John 15 we hear God calling to us with a completely different plan. “Remain in Me,” says Jesus. Have any of you ever thought of “remain” as an action verb? It sounds more like a settling in word, a call to inaction as it were. This is often one of the hardest things to do. It requires a denial of self; an acknowledgement of helplessness; an admission of our desperate need for God.

The original sin in the Garden of Eden, and the root to nearly all sin can be summed up in Adam and Eve’s rebellious protestation,”Listen God, You can’t tell us what to do.” By nature we want to do our will, not His. The Children of Israel were constantly following their own agenda and getting into all sorts of trouble. We do the same thing, and sadly, often hide behind the label of “Christian duty” to do what is really our will, not God’s.

Jesus knows us very well. That’s why He warns of this self deception; this idea of being able to please God on our own. “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine,” He admonishes. vs.4b If we could just get this idea through our heads we would bear fruit, please God, and be a reflection of His love to the world.

Rest. Rest in Him. Quit your scurrying about. Stop the self-recrimination. (Did you notice that self-recrimination centers on self and not on God?) Trying to do something for God suggests ourselves apart from Him giving back to Him, and Jesus tells us plainly that apart from Him we can do nothing.

So quit trying to please God and just rest in Him. Do as He asks, for a change, and thereby rightly please Him. And then men will see fruit that is formed only from our union with Him. For He only is the giver of every good and perfect gift.

This, then, is a call to inaction. Rise up oh men and women of God and, please, just sit there like good little branches, and let God do the work.

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Member Comments
Member Date
David Story08/08/06
It requires a denial of self; an acknowledgement of helplessness; an admission of our desperate need for God. "Lord, help me to rest in You..."
Thank you for this piece.
Jan Ross08/09/06
Oh! Such a lesson we all need to learn! Stop striving in our own strength and let God fight our battles, let Him shed light on our path, let Him carry our burdens! Thanks for this lesson ... it would make an excellent devotional! :)
Edy T Johnson 08/15/06
Please make further use of this entry---I'm hoping in tract form---so you "get the word out" to the church-at-large. How unlike many sermons that lay guilt trips on us because we aren't doing enough! "Come away and rest awhile," and "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" are not often heard from pulpits. I appreciated reading this today. Thank you.