Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vines and Branches (Number 23 in a series)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15: 4-5 (KJV)

Although I now live in northern California – wine country – I have yet to see a vineyard in full growth. My previous visits have been in late autumn or early winter and my arrival for the move here was in late October. The vineyards are barren-looking fields, strung with horizontal wires and interspersed with vertical “sticks.” If this was the only thing I knew about vineyards, I would think them sad things indeed.

Yet Jesus likened himself to a vine. There must be more to a vine than those pitiful sticks. And there is.

The vine is the backbone of the grape plant, the starting point from which the branches spread and grow. It is the vine that endures through the winter, waiting to send out new growth in spring’s warmth. The vine is also what determines the kind of grapes are to be produced on those branches.

With Jesus as our vine, we will branch out into the kinds of activities He would have us do. Our actions and thoughts (our fruit) will reflect Him. The harvest of our lives will bring Him glory.

If we spring from some other vine, that will show as well. Our lives will be filled with things other than Jesus and the harvest from our husbandry will be much poorer.

When we lived in Mississippi, we saw scuppernong vines growing in wild abandon, a riot of elegant curves and graceful leaves. These oversized white grapes provided tasty fruit for jelly and beautiful foliage for scenery. The trellises on which they were supported created a cool, shady haven. This is the sort of multi-faceted beauty our lives can display, if we spring from the True Vine.

I’m looking forward to seeing California in full bloom, vines and all. Meanwhile, I’ll draw on the Vine for spiritual blooming.

Father, thank you for providing the Vine to anchor our lives in what is pleasing to You. Help us to always remain true to the Vine in all we say and do, that we may be judged as fruitful branches for Your kingdom.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

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