New Wine - Day 15

The Vineyard

John 15:1“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.

Have you ever hung out in a vineyard? Weirdly, I have. I spent one year in the Napa Valley attending Pacific Union College. It was a great year. I had a great time, and I was able to hang out with some amazing people. I also had the opportunity to learn a bit about the grape industry that is so prevalent up there. From the crush in the fall to planting in the spring, it was interesting to see how well the vineyards were cared for and the incredible harvest available at the end of all that work. 

John 15 begins by reminding us where our sustenance comes from. The source of everything that we need comes from Jesus. We are well-tended by the Gardner, who is God himself. In the process of tending to the grapevine, there is a discernment of what needs to stay and what needs to go due to the efficacy of their fruits. This is not to give us a picture of a God who is interested in cutting off branches, rather, it is a picture of God who tends to his vineyard with love and with care. 

I don’t know a great deal about plant husbandry, but I do know that pruning a tree is not simply cutting off certain branches that are not bearing fruit, it is also redirecting the connection of the vine to the branch so that it might bear fruit in the future. It is making sure there is a Vital Connection that creates fruit. 

It is possible to be connected to the vine yet not to grow fruit. We see this every day with those who come to church, and who do some great things but can’t seem to grow spiritually. Those who find themselves stuck in a loop of sin management that they cannot seem to get out of. Thier fruit does not grow because that connection to the vine is not vital, and so it does not create the kind of results they are hoping for. 

Therefore, we have to be mindful of the way that we are attached to the vine, making sure that is vital. The good news is that when it is not vital, we can get involved in practices that help us to revitalize the connection we have with God. These are often called the Spiritual Disciplines.

  1. Do you feel like your connection with God is vital? That is bringing good fruit? 
  2. Have you ever engaged in any spiritual disciplines? 
  3. What can you do to get to know more about these disciplines? (Good news, we will keep talking about them)

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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