John 15:16 (NIV) “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last”
Saturday morning, tragedy rocked my daughter’s world. We were visiting her and suddenly her coworker came to her house to tell her that their supervisor, Karen, one whom they loved very much, had suddenly died. It broke their hearts, this sudden and unexpected loss of such a wonderful part of their lives.
Later in the day, many of the people who knew Karen by way of her friendship with them or who were workers in the ministry she directed, met for prayer. Karen was the executive director of TRAILS Ministries, “a holistic, faith-based approach to assisting those impacted directly or indirectly by the trauma of incarceration. This process begins during an individual’s incarceration, for both themselves and their families, and continues through the redeeming processes of restoration and reunification (https://trailsministries.org/).” As these people shared their thoughts about Karen, more than one said “She saved my life!” What a tribute to this woman who gave herself to love the outcasts, the addicts, the incarcerated, and the poor. One of the people that shared was the president of TRAILS’ board of directors. He talked about a meeting that he had had with Karen the day before. One of the main things they spoke about was their desire that the work of TRAILS would result in fruit that would last, for Karen was planning to retire later this year. As Karen looked around the room during that meeting, she pointed to her coworkers and said, “This is the fruit!” What a wonderful realization she voiced, these words which were among the last she would say.
With these words Karen encouraged everyone in that prayer meeting from beyond the grave. When Jesus chose and appointed His daughter Karen to bear fruit, something that He’s appointed all of us Who believe in and follow Him to do, she obeyed. She poured her life into others with love. As people spoke, it was apparent that her love was showered on everyone in her life. This included her family, her employees, and the lives that the TRAILS Ministries had influenced, from the county judge and mayor to those whom the society had forgotten, “the untouchables,” that Karen and her staff have made it their mission to touch. As a result, although Karen is no longer with us, her fruit remains in the lives of those whom she loved. Inevitably, it’s because of her influence that that fruit will bear more fruit, as the love that Jesus poured out to others through Karen’s life reproduces itself in the lives of others.
May God help us to follow the example of Karen, and be the fruit-bearing believers that bring glory to Him by loving others because He first loved us. For you see, one day soon the Lord will reveal to all creation the love that His true followers have shown to others, often behind the scenes. One day soon, the ones who have truly loved Him will hear, like Karen has already heard Him say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:35-40).
Thank you Lord for those like Karen, this one blessed by the Father and appointed by You to help show us the way.
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