Remain in Me - Encouragement Café - June 29, 2017

Remain In Me
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos

Thursday, June 29, 2017

“Remain in me, as I also 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.  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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”  John 15:4-6 (NIV)

In two weeks, I will be traveling to Curahuasi, Peru for a mission trip.  When I initially planned the trip, I was overcome with excitement. I could not wait to meet the people of Peru. 

Over the past few months, I have talked to the missionaries that we will be assisting. 

I have learned that many people in the area where we will work have never heard of Christ.  Our team will have the opportunity to share Christ’s love as we minister at orphanages and lead Bible studies. 

We will also get to distribute Bibles in remote villages.  As exciting as these opportunities are, as the time grows nearer, my anxiety and stress levels are increasing.

As the trip grows closer, I am becoming overwhelmed with worry.  I have agonized over minor details such as “What should I pack?  Which medications should I take with me?  What if I get altitude sickness?  What if our flight is delayed?  How will the kids be while I am gone?  What if the kids need me or get sick while I am away?” 

As much as I worry about the small details of the trip, I am also worried about the spiritual impact our team may or may not have.

I worry, “What if we make no impact at all?  What if we are not able to help the people that we meet?  What if we don’t know what to say or which stories to share to help the people that we encounter?  What if the trip is not fruitful?” 

In the midst of my preparation to do God’s work, I have lost sight of what originally led me to want to go on the trip in the first place. 

Serving God on mission trips takes me outside of my comfort zone and feeds my soul in a way that I cannot describe. 

When I am serving on a mission trip, I have to rely on God completely, and in doing so, I surrender completely to Christ.  When I am able to surrender and remain in Christ, I have witnessed the transformation that occurs in the lives of the people I meet. 

I have seen the hope that our team can bring to an impoverished child, and I have witnessed the life changing impact that love can have on a person that is hurting. 

It is on mission trips that I have seen the fruit of our efforts as people discover the love, hope, and peace of Christ.

It is easy to get so wrapped up in the “to do” items of ministry that we forget Jesus’ command. 

In John 15:4-5, Jesus reminds us, “Remain in me.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. … If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” 

Jesus is clear that no matter how much we worry, and no matter how diligently we prepare, we will bear no fruit unless we remain in Him.  By myself, I will never bear fruit.  I will only bear fruit if I remain in Christ. 

If you are feeling bogged down by the pressures of life and ministry, remember that it is not about what you do.  Your job is to remain in Christ.  If you remain in Christ, Christ promises “you will bear much fruit.”  

Jesus, Thank You using our lives to impact the lives of others.  As we strive to work for You, help us remember to take time to remain in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Thursday, 29 June 2017.