“Privately healthy and publicly fruitful.” I came across this church vision motto from Pastor Al Toledo of the Chicago Tabernacle church. I love the essence of this statement because it resonates with the teaching of Jesus and the principles of the Bible. Here is what Jesus said about our inner life and the outgrowth of fruitfulness. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). Jesus did not come into the world to give us a list of things to do or to avoid. He came to give us life through His Spirit! This living relationship between us and the Lord is pictured as fruit growing on a vine. In order to have fruit, there must first be “abiding.” We are taught by Christ that He is in us…and we are in Him. The first priority of life, therefore, is the cultivation of the inner person of our heart. For us to experience “privately healthy” we first must admit our sin and sickness of heart without Christ and cry out to Him for salvation. The power of the Holy Spirit, then, keeps us in fellowship with Him. Our part of remaining in Him is to love Him back by exercising faith. We pray, read the Word, manage our thoughts, and participate in the life of Christ through the spiritual disciplines. As we live in Christ, we are promised, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit…” (verse 5a). “Public fruitfulness” is the natural outgrowth of abiding in Him. We don’t have to “stress and strain” to bear fruit, because, if we love Him, we will obey Him and manifest His life and deeds to the world. The Lord gives us all gifts and talents and a unique personality. As people see Christ in us, they will be influenced to consider the claims of Christ and whether or not they too will follow. Privately healthy and publicly fruitful…is a great way to express the purpose of our life and church!
Pastor Mark Boucher