1 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.2 He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.3 You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.5 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
For a while now I am been directed to this passage in John. Abide… The theme keeps reoccurring.. The other day, as I was pondering “Abiding” the thought came to me to visit a local vineyard, Tabor Hill. I had been there once years ago when given a gift certificate from my staff. I originally thought I would just drive out to the vineyards early in the morning and walk around and take a few pictures. With a little more thought, I realized that would be trespassing. I decided to call first.. decided a lunch trip would be the best decision.. so lunch and a free guided tour became the plan.
So I left on a God hunt.. to get some deeper insight into the vineyard metaphor..
I was consciously seeking Him most of the time..I had a really great time.. nice lunch, great glass of wine… a fun and informative tour.. and a great stroll through the vineyards taking pictures.. no great lightening bolts… I was a bit surprised by not getting some kind of divine impartation.
The next morning, I realized something.
It was a date.. a very good date. God just wanted me to spend time with Him… without the expectation of receiving some great insight to impress somebody or feel important. I think God wants me to look for Him in that way more often if not everyday.
As to the metaphor.. I hear God telling me to trust Him to make my life bear the fruit it’s supposed to. This is an area I often try and take control of. I am quite sure I have expended vast amounts of energy in none fruit bearing misadventures.
God is the vinedresser.. that is precisely His concern. The branch does not make that decision. The vinedresser re orients the shoots continuously to allow for “breathing” ( air flow ) and exposure to the sunlight. The vinedresser trims away weak shoots and clusters that rob the branch of its full potential.
Jesus told the disciples that they were already being pruned by the teaching they had received. Teaching, directing, motivating, cultivating.. they are all pruning. Positioning. Pruning eliminates unproductive efforts. Unproductive in God’s perspective. The worlds systems and ways of thinking are the wasted efforts. The worlds way of living apart from God is a fruitless, distracted way of living.
For weeks God has been directing me to abide in the vine. Saying, stay close…. My desire is to abide and experience intimacy with God like never before. The fruit is the vinedressers business. The surrender takes place when I give up the job of self pruning and abide.. stay attached and embrace the pruning which will certainly be painful and at times confusing, and confess, I do not have the perspective of the vinedresser.
I am putting down my pruning shears.