The Narrative Lectionary moves us from Exodus 3:1-15 last week, where Moses encounters the burning bush, all the way to Deuteronomy 6:1-9 this week, where Moses delivers his final sermon.
A lot happens in between.
The Shema (Hebrew for listen or hear) in Deuteronomy 6:1-9 is the first text that forms the basis of the Overflow Principle. Imagine that your heart (your soul, your entire being) is like a clay pot…
The Hebrew word leb–translated heart–can serve as a symbol for the mental center–what we would call the mind–AND as the symbol for the entirety of our being–which we might call the soul.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then you’ve probably asked yourself things like, “what am I supposed to do?” “How am I supposed to live my life?” “How can I know if I’m doing it right“? Some people have put it this way. What does it look like to produce fruit that is evidence that I am growing stronger and deeper in my faith?
Jesus gives us the answer in John 15. He used a metaphor and told his disciples to be like the branch of a grapevine. The branch’s job is not to produce fruit. The branch’s job is to stay connected to the main body of the vine. The vine draws nutrients from the soil and passes them up to the branch, through the branch, and then out to the fruit. The branch is simply a conduit for the sap of the vine to do its work in the fruit. The fruit is the overflow of the branch’s connection to the vine.
Jesus put it this way, “Remain in me,” “abide in me,” “stay connected to me.” How do we remain in Him? By obeying his commands. What were his commands? Simple.