The True Vine
Open Your Bible
John 15:1-27, Hosea 14:4-8, Philippians 1:9-11
I’ve become a little obsessed with the vines that cover the wall that separates my patio from my neighbor’s. I’ve never been a plant person, really. I think it’s just that I took greenery for granted when we lived in rural Tennessee and now, there’s little green in my life.
Homesick for nature, my husband and I are both super concerned about the health and well-being of the ivy on our wall. Did the vines get enough water today? Are they getting too much water? What does ivy like? Is that area over on the top left looking concerning to you? Do you think that one brown branch is from when Luis trimmed the vines the other day, or is it still attached and looking diseased? Who knows about vine health? Who can we call to protect our greenery?
As I looked through today’s very plant-centric scripture passages, what stood out to me was not the plants themselves but the who that is responsible for their health and beauty, and what that beauty is actually for.
In John 15:1, Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”
We are the branches. We aren’t necessary. Branches can be fruitful, or they can be pruned. A single branch can wilt or thrive. The vine is the center of attention and the gardener is in charge. The branch’s only hope is to remain connected to the vine in the gardener’s care.
But even after years of walking with the Lord––of learning that I am only healthy, alive, satisfied, and fulfilled when I’m a branch connected to the Vine (Jesus), being nurtured by the Gardener (God)—I still so often long for attention from other places, which leads to sin and pride and pain and heartache.
It’s only when we are connected to the Vine that we’re able to do what we were created to do, and that is to direct attention to the goodness of the Gardner, rather than try to get people to look at me! I still struggle with this. I still do things to try to make myself look impressive as if I’m a rogue branch that thinks it can water and nourish itself.
The fruit that may come from our lives is not from us or for us. It is completely from God and designed to reflect His glory.
Lord, we pray that our “love [would] keep on growing” like ivy, and that our lives would be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”