I am intrigued by God’s message that “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19 and various other places in the the Gospels.) Jesus repeated referred to ‘good fruit’ and to dried out branches that get thrown into the fire.
I used to think that fruit referred to performance. Thus the likely analogy that if we do not provide a lot of evidence of good ministry then He will punish us…throw us away into the fire. Rather now I see that the fruit merely means a referral to “faith, hope and love.” If we don’t keep the faith, hope in HIM and love as He loved then we will completely burn-out. These dried branches are made suitable then only for the fire. What a picture of “burn out.” A dried up branch that has nothing left to give. No life. No hope. No love.
Working with women in ministry and Christian women as a whole, I’m amazed at how many have lost their hope and trust and God. Ministry hurts, pains and abandonment can cause our Christian walk to become clouded and confused. Guess what the next thing is that sets in…anxiety and depression.
God makes things “not work” when we are disconnected from our source. When we aren’t getting fed from staying connected to the vine…our source then we lose our ability to serve. We become dried up branches suitable only for making a nice big bon-fire.