Romans 11: 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root* of the olive tree, 18do not vaunt yourselves over the branches. If you do vaunt yourselves, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you.
At the grafting stage the new believer is green and stands out. It looks tender even, and quite vulnerable.
It has to be cared for, watered, fed, looked in on frequently by the caretaker to ensure it’s adherence to the tree.
If instead it is simply grafted onto the tree and left to its own devices, its chances of bearing fruit are reduced.
From God’s perspective it is helpful to remember that once the trees begin to bear fruit, the novice and old-timer branches are indistinguishable from one another, their leaves and fruit reaching up together in a canopy glorifying the Creator and not the created thing.
Paul brought many to the faith by preaching the gospel – many who were grafted into God’s realm by belief, not genetics. And he tended to them during his lifetime, visiting, revisiting, writing letters, sending others in his stead, teaching and unpacking Scripture, anointing elders and leaders of the local church, encouraging all the new believers to love their God and love others as God loved them, impressing upon them the call to dwell in the Word and to Worship together.
Who have you brought to the faith? Perhaps a friend or a child? How have you tended to them? Looked after? Is there something you could be doing to help that newly grafted child of God adhere steadfastly and firmly to the tree so that s/he may bear fruit?
Lectionary Readings: AM Psalm 95* & 22; PM Psalm 141, 143:1-11(12) Jer. 29:1,4-13; Rom. 11:13-24; John 11:1-27 or 12:1-10