There is one plant in my home that has survived nearly ten years. When people come in to my home they are amazed that it stands nearly seven feet tall. However, it’s had its moments over the years becoming so large that we’ve had difficulty finding the right post, having to break away some leaves that were dying as well as cutting pieces away to replant and give away. We brought this plant home with us when my mother died and it comforts me to think that it is her spirit that nourishes the main stalk by which all the other stalks and leaves are being nourished. Of course regular attention to its needs are important. I have my husband to thank for that. Its prominent place in my living room reminds me of the true vine of Christ and the relationship we have with that truth. Any part of us that negatively affects that relationship is broken away and any part of us that flourishes deserves to be shared. As we continually nourish ourselves with the Word of God we are strengthened as we prominently take our place in God’s kingdom. When others see us standing tall ready and willing to be pruned, they wonder not knowing our full story and yet are amazed. If they ask, we have only simply to say “It’s the spirit of God that abides in me.”
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes* to make it bear more fruit…. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit… John 15:1-16
I came across a horticultural website designed to be a resource for individuals wanting to grow grapevines. Since it was in the form of question and answer I easily discovered some very interesting facts about grapevines. For example, grapevines are rather hearty; some varieties almost to the extent of being stubborn in that cutting them back to the root doesn’t necessarily prevent them from producing fruit. In fact deliberate pruning strengthens their ability to grow. In addition, those varieties which have a tendency to serpentine its roots across the surface of the soil, can develop nodes from which one or more leaves emerge that can be subsequently removed from the mother root and replanted to create another fruit bearing vine. This of course brought to mind the extended metaphor of the “True Vine” in John 15. In life, no one really wants to be pruned particularly when the fruit that we bear is so plentiful. We sometimes forget that only good fruit bears good fruit even as it is deployed away from its original root. As for the bad fruit, well what else can be said except let the pruning begin – that we may enjoy God’s Kingdom in the way he always intended, by extension of the “true” root and bearing fruit simply on the heartiness and strength of his vine.
John 15:1-2, 5 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit…