The Word: Stay connected to the vine
Published 8:15 am Saturday, May 13, 2023
Last weekend, we planted a garden. Not much of one – just a couple of raised beds with cucumbers and tomatoes – but my children were excited. We weeded, we dug, we planted, we watered, and now we just need to wait for the growth (while continuing to weed, nourish, and water!).
Gardening can give us a deep insight into the spiritual life, one that Jesus himself used with his disciples. In John 15, he tells them that he is the vine and they are the branches, the ones who are to bear the fruit of the kingdom of God. Their calling is to have the things in their lives – the goodness, the healing, the care for others, the joy – that comes from being connected to the source of life, Jesus/ the vine. When they remain connected to God through Jesus, they will find their lives filled with fruit, but if they are disconnected, they will wither.
I don’t know about you, but I want my life to be filled with the good things. Not necessarily the material things (though there are material things I enjoy), but the things that make life worth living. Relationships that are strong and healthy. Purpose and meaning in what I do with my days, knowing that the world is better in some way because I have lived in it. Hope for the future. Joy in the life that I find myself in. These are the things that I would classify as “good.”
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These are the things Jesus would call “fruits,” and they become fuller and sweeter the more completely I’m connected to the source of life, Jesus himself.
Of course, the same practices that make for a good garden (watering, weeding, and general tending) apply to our connection to the vine as well. Growth, including the developing of fruit, only occurs when the plant is receiving water and food. Do we give attention to our connection with Jesus? Do we become more and more familiar with his story, taking in his wisdom and entering into conversation with him through prayer? Do we bask in the sunshine of his presence in our lives, opening our eyes to see where God is at work and placing ourselves in the best position to experience God? These are vital to making sure we are growing in our spiritual life, and they can only take place with attention and intention.
The other side of this is weeding; the best plant can be choked of life and bear no fruit if weeds are allowed to keep it from sunlight, water, and food. What in our lives keeps us from connecting with Jesus? What keeps us from an awareness of God? What interrupts our attention to the ways of Jesus? Distraction and inattention can limit our fullness of life. Make sure nothing crowds out your connection with God.
This growing season, may you tend your connection with God and spend time with Jesus.
REV. DR. J. ADAM TYLER is the Senior Pastor for Farmville Baptist Church and he can be reached by email at email@example.com.