“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:1-11.
Several years ago I grew a lot of tomato plants from seeds. I cared for them, transferred them into bigger pots, and when it got to warm out, I put them in the ground. They grew to be large plants, about 5 feet tall. The only problem was that they were leafy, but not producing much fruit. So when I saw fruit coming out, I pruned the other branches on that plant so the fruit would get all the nutrients. The whole point of growing tomato plants is getting tomatoes. For that reason, a strong case can be made that the fruit of the Christian is more Christians. After all, Jesus told us to preach the Gospel to everyone, and to teach them to obey all Christ’s teachings.
On the other hand, John the Baptist had warned the Pharisees, that they should bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And Jesus said that a good tree bears good fruit, while a bad tree bears bad fruit. Paul further explains that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). So it appears that it is the obedience itself is the fruit, even if it has not yet manifested itself in the number of disciples made. And our obedience is not only our fruit, but our very food.
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:34-38).