“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.” (John 15:5)
It’s harvest here in the valley. Or “crush” as we call it here. After all the point isn’t just to harvest the grapes. It’s what happens next: crush, fermentation, barrels, etc. Until finally the fruit reaches fruition when it reaches our tables – or someone else’s table – as a bottle of premium Napa Valley wine.
Yes, this is an important time of year. Not only because of the “crush” of tourists, but because a good harvest is part of the process toward a fine wine.
But how much of a harvest would we be seeing if throughout the spring and summer, the branches, now so laden with fruit, had become detached from the vines? I know, it’s a silly question. We don’t even wonder about such things because the result is so obvious. Not only would there be no harvest, the branches would be dead, suitable only for compost.
And yet what is so obvious to us when it comes to the care of vines is sometimes so elusive when it comes to the care of our own souls. Jesus has designed us to bear fruit, a finer fruit yielding an exclusive vintage, crafted by the celestial enologist for heaven itself. And this simple yet profound point of spiritual viticulture is to be taken to heart daily: “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.”
Jesus has designed us for fruitfulness, but that will only happen as we abide in Him. What does that mean? Simply to draw our life from the vine, from our Savior. When we do so, he assures us of lives of fruitfulness.
So I invite you to examine your vineyard. Look at the fruit, examine the branches. Is there a need for a change? Are you spending time daily with the vine, hearing His word, dwelling in prayer? Are you placing as much priority on keeping the Sabbath as the other commandments?
May the Lord abide in you and you in him, that He may bring forth in you and through you abundant fruit, to His glory, and for His mission.