These grapes date back to the 1930’s! When I was a boy I would graze on them when I visited my Great Aunt Bertha. More than 50 years later my wife and I purchased the old home place property where Aunt Bertha lived. The property has been in our family since 1875 and was originally settled by my great-grandfather. There was this one little-bitty grapevine remaining that was a remnant of the original grape arbor that had once flourished nearby. The little vine grew out from a root that was under the foundation of an old outbuilding once used as a garage and now re-purposed as our garden shed. The struggling grapevine was so spindly and ugly I kept cutting it back to the edge of the building for several years trying to get rid of it. But it wouldn’t give up and kept coming back each spring. Finally, I gave up instead and just let it grow on its own for a year. The next year I put up a temporary wire using scrap I had on hand. Quite to my surprise the next year that spindly little vine produced a few delicious grapes. This year it has produced a lot of grapes … proving to me that God knows immensely more than I do about His creation! I am looking forward to the harvest … recalling the lazy days of my youth spent with my relatives … and perhaps some homemade grape jelly! Let’s explore some related scripture to enhance our understanding of how we relate to our Godly father.
John 15:5-8 (MSG) – 5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with Me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from Me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with Me and My words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who He is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (MSG) – 7-8 “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers—Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.”
Colossians 2:6-7 (MSG) – 6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You’re well constructed upon Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
The scriptures for this article, are from The Message version of the Bible which “is an idiomatic translation of the original languages of the Bible.” It is not my favorite Bible translation, but it puts the Word of God into modern language by drawing word pictures that make the scriptures come alive. For example, in John 15:5-8, Jesus clearly states the Christian’s dependence on Almighty God. God is the Vine (and the root as well – see Colossians 2:6-7). We are the branches, the conduit through which God can bring forth His fruit.
But without the root there is no vine, no branches and no fruit … in the words of Jesus, “deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.” Christians are “joined“, or grafted, into the vine and the root of God through accepting God’s Son Jesus, The Christ, as their personal Savior and Lord (see Become a Christian). If you are deeply rooted in Christ, then you will be deeply rooted in His Word, the Bible. If you are not deeply rooted in the Word, then those shallow roots will fail to provide the nourishment and strength required to see you through life’s tough struggles. Christians have the assurance that “whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon” by Almighty God. When a Christian branch matures and produces fruit, God shows Himself for who He is, not for who you are! You see, it really is all about Him … not us!!
I like the way Jeremiah 17:7-8 reads: “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers—Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.” The Christian man or woman who trusts and sticks with God through thick and thin is like trees replanted in the garden of Eden … a place where there were springs of living waters … a place where there was never a worry, a place where fresh fruit was abundant and readily available to Adam and Eve … a perfect place prepared by God for man … a place that Adam and Eve defiled by disobeying God and committing that first sin that forever doomed mankind. But a compassionate God sent his son Jesus to pay the price for our sins and redeem us through the price He paid … not a price that we paid!
As Paul taught the Colossian Christians sound doctrine when he wrote to them, “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You’re well constructed upon Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. What wonderful advice for us as well.
What lesson is there to learn from my brief opening story and the scriptures provided above? One lesson I see … the root and the vine are where God placed the essence of life for the grapes – and for you. Without the root and the vine, the branches do not grow and the grapes are not produced. As a Christian, I am just like those grapes. God is the root and the vine and I am one of His branches. Without God as my root and vine I will not produce fruit! Another lesson is that God is always there, just like that spindly grapevine root under the foundation of our garden shed. No matter how many times you cut that vine back, God stands ready to produce the vine so that the branches can form and produce abundant fruit through our lives. Thank you God for The Spindly Grapevine and the lessons You taught me through its persistent effort to grow and produce fruit!
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