It's All Just Gear

I was struck by something recently. And just so you know, this will not be a techie post. I spend a lot of time writing very technical stuff here, but working in a church, our job is as much about people as about technology. Maybe more. Anyway, back to what struck me.

In our staff meetings, we often do a spiritual practice to remind us why we're meeting in the first place. Last week, we looked at a list of the sayings of Jesus. It was not all-inclusive, but a good collection of things He said that might impact our lives. We were challenged to pick one and memorize it. One stood out to me right away. This week I was clearing off my desk, and I found the list. The verse I chose I had committed to memory years ago (so I guess I was technically cheating at the exercise), and once again I was struck with the power of the phrase.

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Go back and read that again and let it sink in. I found this so striking because I've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks re-wiring our tech booth and making plans for an upcoming IT migration. I was struck by how easy it is to get completely wrapped up in technology, and forget that unless we remain connected to Christ, we are doing nothing.

Sure, we may be wiring gear together, but that's all we're doing. We might be making graphics, editing videos, mixing sound, and firing off ProPresenter cues, but unless we are doing in the context of a relationship to Christ, we are doing nothing. That's right, nothing.

I find myself devoting hours of thought to how I'm going to distribute video in our sanctuary and the rest of the building. Or perhaps how I'm going to set up our new XServe. Or maybe how I'm going to structure a new training series for our volunteers. But I struggle to "find time" to spend reading the Bible or simply praying. I'm staying very busy, but am I doing nothing?

I suffer from insomnia, which I'm learning is common among people with my temperament. It's really easy for me to lie in bed for hours working out solutions to complex technical problems. But it's a lot harder to spend a few minutes before I turn out the light reading the words of Jesus. Even when I try to spend some of my "can't fall asleep" time praying, my mind wanders off to solve the current dilemma. 

But over the last 2 weeks, those words keep coming back to haunt me.

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

What am I really accomplishing? Am I bearing much fruit? Am I really remaining in Christ? More and more, it seems to me if I miss this, I've missed the whole point. Unless I remain in Him, it's all just gear wired together. It's all just stuff… procedures… plans… nothing.

So what does it mean to "remain in Him?" I'm not entirely sure I know the answer, but I think it starts with being still long enough to listen for His voice. Not the audible one we all would love to hear, but the still, small voice that gives us our next direction. I think it means spending some time in prayer for our teams, our church and our co-laborers. I think it means hanging out in the Bible, letting the words wash over us. I think it means subordinating our agenda to His.

Let's face it, brothers and sisters; we're techies. We're not likely to become famous, or be loved and adored by the congregations who aren't even sure what we do. We're behind the scenes, and most of us like it that way. But when I look back, at the end of my life, I want to see fruit. My fruit will look different than that of the pastor or the evangelist or the conference speaker. But I want to see fruit nonetheless. What I don't want to see is nothing more than a collection of really well wired gear. That would be a tragedy. That would be nothing.