John 15:5-6 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
I recall the time when I attended a retreat weekend, and had the opportunity to walk the grounds of the camp, enjoying the scenery and the fresh cool air. The mountains rose to the sky on one side of the camp, and on the other were green valleys that stretched for miles. But as I walked around, I came across a specific tree that caught my attention. It was the healthiest tree I think I have ever seen. It stood straight and tall, and the leaves were fresh, flexible and moist, and the greenest of green, full of life.
I then noticed, at the base of the tree, a thick pile of leaves that had fallen from the tree, and obviously were dried up, brown and brittle, with no life in them at all.
As I looked at that scene, I couldn’t help but think of the instruction Jesus gave us in John 15, to stay attached to the vine. If we are not attached to the vine, we cannot bear fruit; there is no life.
Jesus invites us to enjoy the fullness that He offers, by staying attached to Him. To tackle life without Him (the vine), we open up ourselves to battle the elements of life in our own strength. We are exposed to the winds that can blow us off course, or the rains that flood our lives, earthquakes that shake our foundations and cause us to fall. Our support and strength comes from attaching ourselves to the vine, and staying attached to receive the nourishment and strength we need for life. I don’t have the strength to battle through on my own. To have that someone to stand and fight with me, is a source of comfort and strength, and an assurance that I will still be standing strong and tall when the storm has passed and the battle is over.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your spirit to strengthen and guide through the storms and challengers of life. When our strength has failed, you take up the battle, allowing us to rest and draw strength from you once again. Help us to stay connected to you (the true vine), so you can nourish and strengthen us, to be fruitful. Thank you for your many good gifts to us, our families, friends and loved ones, for health, and for life itself. In Jesus’ name I pray these things, Amen.