The context of this verse is that Jesus was praying for us, His disciples, for God to send us out into the world to be salt and light, to be effective for God’s kingdom.
It was when I was at my uncle’s funeral some years ago that my thinking changed profoundly. My uncle had had many deep issues in his life that he had never been able to address, and when he moved to another part of the country he isolated himself from others and we were not able to visit him or break through the walls he built around himself. When he died my brother and I offered to represent the family at his funeral, as my mother was not able to travel. When we got there we found only four others there, most of whom were there to carry out official duties for the funeral. It was a great shock and sadness to me that there were no significant people in his life to come and say goodbye.
It set me thinking about my own life and my desire to make a difference to those around me and to those who come after me. What will I leave behind as a legacy? What impact on the Kingdom will my life have made when I die? What is God asking me to do with my life, both in the day to day and in the long term? My deep desire is to follow God and be obedient to His calling. Jesus sent out His disciples into the world to continue the work God had sent Jesus into the world to do. That meant we are to love, serve, heal and battle against spiritual powers of darkness. This is our acceptable worship to God.
For each of us we have an individual calling within this remit. It doesn’t necessarily mean we go overseas as missionaries or international leaders (although it might mean that), it may be a ministry of prayer from a sickbed, or befriending neighbours or whatever God has for us, but let's make sure we know what God is asking of us, and with His help and guidance to be obedient to it.
I can’t say what impact my uncle’s life had in terms of the Kingdom; that is not for me to judge. But it was in his death that I learnt a lesson that will never leave me. It was in his death that fruit was born in my life.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You have chosen me and that I am of immense importance to You. Help me to discern Your plan for my life, that I may be fruitful and creative for Your kingdom. Take me as I am and use me, heal me and inspire me so I can inspire others and bring them into Your love and care. Amen.