Abundant Living Vol. XV, Issue 11

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” John 15:16 

A man sat with a friend complaining bitterly about all the troubles in his life. After listening for a while his friend finally spoke up. “Look, Joe,” he said, “this is your life, and these are the conditions. Now, what’s the invitation?”

One of my favorite scenes from the movie “Forrest Gump” occurred when Lieutenant Dan climbed up the mast of Forrest’s shrimp boat. A storm arose, yet there he remained straddled to the mast throughout the night, all the while screaming at God about all the troubles in his life. It was there that Lieutenant Dan, who had lost both his legs in Vietnam, came to a moment of truth with God. Bitterly, he had kept asking the same questions over the years since his tragedy. Why did this happen to me? What am I good for now without my legs? Finally, atop the mast of a rickety old shrimp boat in the middle of a violent storm he laid it all on the line. Shaking his fist toward the sky he challenged God to either grant him some peace and show him a purpose, or let him die.

At long last the storm subsided, the seas calmed, and miraculously Lieutenant Dan survived. More importantly, he had faced the moment of truth about his life, an acceptance of the fact that this was his life, and these were the conditions. Now, “what’s the invitation?”

In the next scene we see Lieutenant Dan beneath the clear blue sky leaping off the shrimp boat into the calm waters like a kid in summer diving into a swimming pool, where he is playfully backstroking about, smiling at the sun, catching its glorious rays – free at last from his bitterness. And we hear Forrest Gump narrating in the background that Lieutenant Dan had made his peace with God. Invitation received, invitation accepted!

“You did not choose me,” Jesus said, “but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” God did not choose our condition; rather He invites us from whatever our condition – and appoints us!! – to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last . . . This is our life, yours and mind. Our respective conditions are what they are. Now, what is our invitation? How can we bear fruit with the conditions we’ve been handed?

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