““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.”
I’ve been pruning.
My sore shoulders can swear to that in court.
Hubby was watching me slaving away with tools that were a little worse for wear, and took pity on me with a timely gift – a battery-powered pruning saw.
And wowee, that little thing can whack up a storm!
In no time flat, I produced a waist-high pile of dead and unwanted branches.
So I know very well what happens to bits and pieces of shrubs and vines when they are no longer connected to their root systems.
It isn’t pretty.
I have a reasonably solid understanding of the gist of these verses about staying attached to the vine.
Sometimes, when I wake up tired and just don’t feel like I have what it takes, I remember that, like my pile of lifeless branches, I desperately need to stay tucked in.
In my mind, I deliberately pop my feet into the vine.
I visualize my grapevines, warm and alive in the summer sun. I imagine my feet being tender green tendrils, and I imagine plugging them in to those strong and life-giving roots.
I know, you see, where my true power lies.
And it sure isn’t in me.
Oh, I have some nice skills. I have talents and aptitudes and a good capacity for learning new things.
But just living drains those finite resources. And when I’m depleted, I know to go to the Source.
I’ve read and pondered and discussed and even written about this passage more than once, but this morning I was struck by a new thought.
I suddenly visualized tens and hundreds and thousands of other toe dippers, other souls tapping in to the global vine in a cosmic effort to remain attached to our Roots – and it was a moment of awe.
Sustenance, beauty, productivity, a faith-building, life-giving, energizing root system bestowing growth and prosperity on millions upon millions of believers around the world, all at the same time.
A network of branches, all bearing witness to the goodness of a loving God, all producing a bountiful harvest of fruit, of tasty wines, of the elixir of abundance – many flavours, one Root. Many crops, one Saviour.
What a tantalizing image.
I’ll be burning those dying branches I trimmed away when I have time. They are too big to compost, and too bulky to store.
I don’t want to wither away like that, when I have the resources at my disposal to tap into.
I want to join my brothers and sisters around the world who are tucked in, rooted by faith, growing strong and beautiful and productive as they seek to mimic and serve their Master Gardener.
Plug into the global grapevine with me?
Father, what a beautiful picture, a global vineyard with all of Your children sinking their toes into Your enormous root system! How lovely to be a part of something so simple yet powerful. Bless us as we learn to depend on You for the resources we lack. Amen.