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John 15:4 “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.”
We worship God with our resources as a response to the call to bear fruits. John the Baptist appealed to those who were coming to him for baptism: “Produce fruit in keeping with your repentance.” (Matt. 3:8). For John, baptism and being part of God’s people were not sufficient. The Gospel of Luke shares some concrete examples of the “fruit of our repentance” that John the Baptist gave to those who came to him. He asked the tax collector not to collect any more than was required. He exhorted the soldiers not to “extort money” and “be content with your pay.” And he commanded the crowd to share their second shirt and food with the one who does not have (Lk. 3: 10-14). These examples reported by Luke have something in common; they are related to one’s attitudes towards finances and material possessions. Fruit of our repentance means being careful about how we use our resources, making sure to bless and not harm others.
The Bible tells the story of a man, Nabal, a son of Abraham who was heavily blessed but did not bear fruit of repentance in his material life. He refused to reward those who protected his flock and would harshly rebuke the servants of David who came to ask for some food. This attitude led his wife to call him wicked and to make the following comment: “He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him” (1 Sam. 25:25). Sadly, the following day, he had a stroke. Ten days later, he died.
As we reflect on the need to bear more fruits of repentance in our material life, let us apply the advice of Jesus: “Remain in me as I also remain in you.” This week, as we worship with our tithe and regular offerings we can bear fruits of repentance.
—North American Division Stewardship Ministries