This week's note from Skip Moen is about nothing - literally!
In John chapter 15 Jesus makes an astounding and crucial statement. We tend to water it down, but it turns out He means what He says...
To connect with some men who are working to make a real difference, check out one of the local CBMC Connect3 teams for breakfast, basic training and encouragement.
  • CBMC Worcester team: Monday, 6:45 - 7:45 am at Chick-fil-A, 80 Gold Star Blvd, Worcester
  • CBMC Leominster team: Tuesday, 7:00 - 8:00 am at Panera Bread, Leominster Whitney Field Mall
The Bottom Line
by Skip Moen
...for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Nothing-The Greek word oudeis literally means "not one thing." Jesus is speaking to His disciples. He tells them that He is the vital energy of their lives (the vine). They are the recipients of that vital energy (the branches). What they accomplish in life (the fruit) is only accomplished because of the connection they have to Him. Then He says, "If you are not connected to me, you can't do anything."
The paradox in this verse is that everything is ultimately under Jesus' power. John makes it clear that "not one single thing" was brought into being without Christ's direct involvement. Since this is true for all things, Jesus only points out what should have been crystal clear for His disciples: not one single thing will be done without their total reliance on Him. They are to act explicitly on the foundation that is implicit in creation. They are not to live in a fog about who is behind it all.
There is a personal paradox here too. It is the paradox of a believer like you and me acting in ways that support the false belief that we have to take care of some things on our own. It is the false belief that God leaves the little things up to us while He takes care of cosmic issues. This word shouts a resounding "NO!" because not one single thing gets done unless Christ is behind it. This is an indictment against us every time we think, "I have to do this by myself." For Christian servanthood, there is no such thing as "doing it by myself." Unless you are connected, "not a single thing" will get done.
This statement contains a hidden paradox. Look around you. Everywhere people are accomplishing tasks. It doesn't seem to make any difference if they are connected to Christ. Nonbelievers create great empires, become famous, are wealthy, do amazing works for charity, and give their lives to causes. It is so obvious that they are able to do all sorts of things. So, why does Jesus say that apart from His vital energy, not a single thing can be done? Because God has the final word on the eternal bottom line results. He determines if all our striving can make a difference that lasts. An attempted "do it yourself" project is not going to have any eternal value. Remember, as followers of Jesus we are longing to hear these words from our Master, "Well done." What you will hear depends on how closely connected you stayed with Him and how willing you were to "Invite God in."
Lord Jesus, as I work today and everyday please remind me that I cannot accomplish anything of value without You. Help me to stay connected to You in all that I do. Amen.
1. Have I been trying to control areas of my work-life without God's vital energy?
2. What things do I think I have to do by myself?
3. What control issues do I need to turn over completely to Him?
This WorkLife SwitchTOOL was written by Skip Moen, PhD. Skip provides mentoring and consulting to companies who want to serve God through their work.   Used by permission. All rights reserved. Content edited and distributed by for non-profit educational purposes

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