“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Word of Jesus, John 15:5
It is often when I am immersed in creation that I am reminded of humanity’s humble place in the world.
Last weekend I went backpacking near Sandpoint on Strawberry Mountain trail which highlights beautiful mountain views, hidden streams, and many wildflowers. I came back feeling refreshed and joyful after spending a weekend outdoors and in good fellowship with friends. As we hiked among the pine trees, I had a conversation with one of my friends about our summer’s work. I spoke about the hardships I’ve learned that the ALICE population faces as I work on one of the church’s Big Move Projects. The ALICE population includes those that work and earn enough to be above the Federal Poverty Line, but are unable to afford basic necessities. The previous week had brought me a realization of the complexity and size of these issues. How can I, as a summer fellow, make a difference? How can we, as people passionate about these issues, make a dent in the work needed to be done to support people in need? My friend was experiencing a similar feeling, for he was also overwhelmed when meditating on the complexity and size of his humanitarian job.
It got us thinking about our role in these efforts. When I think about the ALICE population, I think of the issues that they face, such as unaffordable childcare, transportation issues, and the like. But it is when I think deeper about these issues and the problems that the world faces as a whole that I recognize the root problem: sin. These problems exist because we live in a fallen world. It is easy to be discouraged by the issues, for we as humans can only put a Band-Aid over the problems. However, it is in Christ that true transformation occurs and help is possible.
In my frustrated-at-sin state, I recognized that it is not up to us to save the world—Christ has already done that. Thank God. Our job is to faithfully serve God wholeheartedly and in confidence that our work is not done in vain, but instead our work glorifies Christ because of our love for God and our neighbors.
I was reminded that it is important to recognize ourselves as only human, and not to be discouraged by this fact, but encouraged by the great victory of Christ in which we take part. Transformation is possible only through Christ. It is in him that we are able to bear much fruit to the glory of God and for the good of the Body of Christ and our world.
May we be fruit bearers by abiding in Christ in all that we do. For it is then that we can truly make a difference.