|Are you as smart as a grape vine?|
Just last year these were mere sticks in the mud, branches trimmed from mature vines and shared with me to start my own little vines. They were carefully nurtured all last summer. They had times of sunshine and rain then, much to my delight, little pink buds sprouted from the sticks early this spring, assuring me they had indeed endured and grown roots over the brutal winter!
My job as tender of the vines is not just to watch them grow but to give them what they need to grow properly. That includes a brutal task of trimming. It was agonizing to break off tender little limbs that were growing at the wrong angle or in the wrong spot. It was necessary, and painful for me and for them. I don’t know if they understood it was for their good, but the result was healthy plants that have now grown (in the right direction) over six feet long in just a few weeks!
Grape vines like to grow, but they need support. Naturally, I was happy to oblige and used some stakes to give them the help they needed to stay upright while they got their “feet” under them. Now they are able to stand firmly where they were planted because their root system is established – giving them a sound footing. Because I want them to bear fruit, I also attached some old clothesline at the top of the stakes for horizontal growth and support for the fruit that is to come.
|Grape vine. Holding on to the straight and narrow.|
Can you see those sweet tiny tendrils wrapped around the line? They are holding on with all their strength, and thus following the straight and narrow path laid out for them! Not being tossed to and fro with the wind, but securely anchored in a perfectly straight line! What smart little tendrils they are, protecting the vine from damage and allowing for fruit to be born at the proper time!
I can only worship God for His marvelous provision for the simple grape vines because, in many respects, it is a picture of His love for you and me.
- We must have a good root system to live and grow. While we are the branches of the vine, He is the root, the very vine itself. Staked to Him and spending time with Him in His Word, we establish a firm and steady root system, without which we wither like the seeds from the parable of the sower…Firmly rooted, we will be able to grow, putting out leaves and stretching out our little branch of His vine.
- We must grow up and grow out. Growing in Him we will be richly nourished and able to grow but, that is only the first part of our job. We must also grow out toward others in the world. In order to do that, we must stretch away from Him a bit, out into the world, while still holding on to and drawing from the Root.
- Holding firmly to the line is essential. Growing up from the Root we are established but, growing outward we become vulnerable to winds and breaking. The Master has given us a guide wire, a path to follow. This path will be the means by which you can be of useful service. Hold on to it. Hold on to it with all your might. It will keep your path straight, especially when the winds of false doctrines blow against you. With your Root established, and your path straight, you will flourish.
- Bear fruit in season. Being fruitful and multiplying is part of the job description. It will come after being firmly grounded in the Truth and seasons of growth (including sun and rain) leading to maturity. Leaves are nice, but the fruit is the goal.
- Trust the master to prune the right things at the right time. Just as my new little plants were cut from a mature vine, the Master will need to prune you from time to time. It may hurt a bit, but you can know that He is pruning away that which you do not need. Only at the proper time and the proper place will He snip. He is worthy of our trust, whether you understand why or not.
Dearest Father in heaven, we thank You for giving us so many examples of Your love and our responsibilities. Thank You for being the root of all our strength. Thank You for guiding us with Your wisdom along a path perfectly chosen for us. Help us to grow, nourished in Your Word. Thank You for loving us enough to give us both sunshine and rain, and to prune away the things that draw us away from You and Your will.
Help us to recognize the time to grow, the time to bear fruit, and the time for pruning each come from Your hand. May we grow in maturity, firmly holding to Your hand, and bear much fruit for Your kingdom! May our delight always be in following the path You have set before us.
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