A person can study and work hard for a time and rarely see the product of their labor. Sometimes they wonder if their efforts they put into their work are of worthy of any value. In my life, this a matter that is often presented, especially in my place of work.
This past week has not been on the positive side. However, my best moment came from a customer. True Story: A customer walked in through the door of the bookshop and made his way to the reading and discussion room at the back of the bookshop. I followed him in and asked him, “Hi, are you looking for anything specific?” He replied, “No, I just want to look around a bit.” I replied, “Ok, just let me know if I can be of help.” As I walked towards the passage way, he stopped me and asked “Are you a Christian”, I laughed and said, “I am, it is kind of a pre-requisite for working in a Christian bookshop.” He laughed. Then he asked if he could asked me a question, I said “yes, go ahead”. He asked, “To you, what does it mean to “abide in the vine”?” Without much thought, I replied in a simple manner, “to “abide in the vine” is to be in submission to God’s standards. Not those of this world such as “professionalism”, “ethics”, or “legalism”; all of these have grey areas. However, God’s standards are absolute. God’s standards are only reachable through the help of the Holy Spirit, not out of our own efforts.” I observed his facial reaction, and thought for a moment that I had confused him. So I asked him if I had done so or perhaps needed to clarify further. As in thought, he said, “no, I understand, it is much simpler and understandable than what I was told before, which is why I asked you, thank you.”
It is moments like these that make me grateful for my studies in many things, especially understanding of God’s Word. It provides we with a sense of satisfaction and gratitude that my studies are not in vain, my time will come to present my findings and understanding. God’s Word calls us “to be ready in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2). His Word also tells us that we should not worry about how to respond, but the Holy Spirit will teach us what to say (Luke 12:11-12). However, none of these two things can come to be fulfilled unless we “abide in the vine”, in our case Jesus (John 15:4-5).
It is my hearts desire to encourage you to read, study, and learn from God’s Word, the Bible. I encourage you to spend time in prayer, that is conversing with Him. In addition, listen for His voice through means of the Holy Spirit, let Him teach you and guide you. Lastly, don’t limit Him to yourself or the boundaries of your church congregation, go beyond them, and share Him with others in accordance to how He leads you to do so.
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R. A. Gómez