We have four baskets with us and all four baskets are a bit different. One basket is empty. Can you imagine getting to heaven, and facing your Savior with an empty basket? Surely you would thank Jesus for dying on your behalf. Surely, you’d be more grateful than words could describe that you’d found an eternal home in heaven. But what kind of emotions would you have if, somehow, you appeared before Jesus with an empty basket? What kind of response would you have, if Jesus said, “I asked you to bear fruit. I commanded you to bear fruit. I gave you spiritual gifts, and I placed you in places and situations where you could use those spiritual gifts. What did you do with all the years I gave you to bear the fruit? Why is your basket empty?”
We’ve got three more baskets, of course, and each has an amount of fruit in it. One has a bit of fruit in it, and the other has a good bit more. These baskets are indeed options for us, but again, imagine the culmination of your entire life, and that incredible moment when you meet Jesus, face to face. What grief we might bear in that moment when we realized the lost opportunities of fruit that could have been in the basket.
Every single one of us has an opportunity to present a life overflowing with fruit to our Lord. For a person with the gift of evangelism, a fruitful life would include many people who’ve become Christians because of that person’s work. For a person with the gift of teaching, the fruitful harvest would be the great numbers of people who’ve grown in the faith because of the teaching. For a person with the gift of helps, the fruitful life could be the people who’ve been comforted and blessed in times of need.
The ultimate form of commitment will produce the most incredible fruit imaginable. “If you abide in me,” Jesus told those disciples (John 15:7), “and my word abides in you, ask what you will, and you shall have it.” Is that possible? Sure, it is. “Abiding” is “staying.” It’s where you live. If we choose a lifestyle that has constant communion with Christ, the abiding happens.
In time, any Christian who decides to pursue a 24/7 lifestyle of abiding with Christ will see the fruit come in amazing amounts. It may take seasons of preparation, planting, watering, cultivating and fighting the enemy, but like a farmer doing the same thing in his fields, the harvest is a natural part of such a process. A church making an increased commitment to bearing fruit will, in due time, see amazing things happen.
Questions to ask?
Which basket would you like to present to Jesus, when you meet him? An empty one? One partially filled? One that’s got a good bit of fruit in it? (Hold up the fourth basket.) Or would you like to give Jesus a basket so filled with fruit that it can’t all be contained? “Well done!” the Lord will say in the moment. “Well done, my good and faithful – my fruitful – servant!”