Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NLT
Have you ever started a conversation by saying, “You know the problem I have with our church is!”? Of course, there may be serious issues relating to personal misconduct or false doctrine, but more often than not our problem is that we may all be connected to the vine, we are at many different stages of growth. Some of us have been around for decades, but it has been so long since anyone harvested any of our fruit that it is overripe, mushy and a bit smelly. Then, we might find in the seat next to us Sir Jumps-a-lot, because he just became a Christian recently and His fruit is…well still a little bit tart! So, how in the world does Jesus expect us all to get along? The answer lies just a few verses ahead-
This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12 ESV
And how exactly has Jesus loved us? Well, according to verse one, it is by staying connected through thick and thin. Even on days when we are pretty lousy branches, or when our blossoms are frost blighted or when old age has weakened a few of our limbs Jesus sticks with us. Then, He tells us that our only job is to stay connected (abiding) in Him. As long as we do that, He steps in and lovingly prunes us back when our head grows a few sizes too big, He waters us when we are dry, and He feeds us when we are hungry for His word. His love connection is not determined by how well we are doing today, or our stage of maturity. Then Jesus asks us to do the same with other people at our church, in our families and with our friends. As branches, it is not our job to accept or reject the branches growing around us. Our job is to love them just as Jesus loved us. Then, when someone who is not a believer shows up, they just may be so amazed by that loving connection, that they want to know more. Ours may not be a “Perfect church” but I believe that it is exactly the kind that God has in mind. So, whatever our stage of growth this morning, let’s just stay focused on staying connected to Jesus. Then, just as He promised, He will be faithful to stay connected to us and see to it that our branches are filled with delicious fruit!
2 thoughts on “God’s Vineyard”
“Our fruit is overripe, mushy and a bit smelly.” I was thinking that I know a couple of people in my church like this… and then I wondered if maybe they might be saying the same thing about me! 😂
I was thinking of myself when I wrote this, so I’m glad someone else identifies!