I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. John 15:5
The idea of the glass being half empty or half full is a common proverbial phrase that is used to illustrate that a situation can be generally positive or negative. It can also be interpreted as a state of mind, or perception of one’s worldview. Either way, it’s an assessment of a moment in time.
Life’s journey is really about the source of it all. I recall the Jackson Browne song “Running on Empty” which describes a (hopefully) transitional season of life. He uses the metaphor of a gas tank to describe his place in life. In fact, we are constantly refilling and recharging. Be it gasoline, cell phone or laptop batteries, or grabbing a snack or meal, we need to replenish our source of energy.
The thing is, these sources are temporary and must be constantly replenished. Today, Jesus reminds us that we are connected, and when we are connected not only are we nourished but we “bear much fruit.” Connected and nourished, two essentials for the long run and for everyday stewards. No longer are we half empty OR half full!
One of the most important things we do is leave messages. We call and leave a message, we send an email message, we text message and we communicate messages on social media. We may even have prepared an elevator speech in the event we have an opportunity to pique enough interest to follow up in more depth at a later time. We may have a minute at best in person or 140 characters to convey the best possible message. Effective messages are an art, and most messages we create are for our own interest and benefit.
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt 4:10).
The thing is, stewardship is about managing resources that are for the common good – the good of others. We have received a glorious gift that can benefit all people, the gift of faith. Today’s readings remind us of the eternal message, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). This is the foundation of faith on which we hang our hats.
It’s easy to become sidetracked by programs, procedures and problem-solving. In our abundance of information and communication we can get lost in our own messages. Today, Paul and John help us regain focus on what the true message really is. To know the Father we must first know Jesus.
In the midst of preparing messages for our daily business, let’s not forget the Main Thing that we are disciples of Christ. All of our activities must lead others to know the One who is the Way to eternal life, which begins here on earth. We are Jesus’ hands and feet, face and spokesperson. Our actions are Jesus’ actions. After all, whoever has seen us has seen the Father (John 14: 6b, 9c).
Jesus, help me to be ready when I hear “Leave a message at the sound of the tone.”