John 15:5-I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.
I look back on my high school years (10-12) as some of the most meaningful, formative years of my life. Faith Academy is located on a hill in a township outside of Manila in the Philippines. In the class of '77 there were 61 of us. Because we were somewhat isolated, it was a fantastic place to build relationships.
In 2008, about thirty of us from the classes of '76 and '77 met in Nashville, Tennessee, for a reunion over the 4th of July weekend. Many of us had not seen each other for over 32 years yet it took no time to rekindle friendships and to reminisce laughingly over memories forged in our teens. Saturday night, Bruce shared with the group that the thing which most bonded us and what mattered for our remaining years is the gospel. It was a heartfelt affirmation of the truth that our rich heritage is tied to Jesus.
The gospel is our hope. The gospel is our compass pointing heavenward on the road home. The gospel is our constant reminder that life no matter how difficult, is worth living, because Jesus found us worth saving. Some in our midst were going through very difficult times, yet because of the One inside us we were able to provide love and understanding.
We are branches of the Vine. Branches don't always grow straight. Some twist and turn-tangled by years of pain and moving in unintended directions. Some are full of fruit-testimony to the rich blessings which come from deep abiding. Some are thin and barren-in danger of being pruned. Some are strong and wrap around others with a grip that gives the word encouragement such amplitude that all want to burst into song. Some point in their own unique direction yet carry the same texture and conviction that attest to Vine-living.
We are branches of the Vine. Branches don't always understand what the Vine is doing. But we have the freedom to ask for His help and to share our challenges. The Vine promises that so long as we abide in Him, He will provide. Branches that remain in the Vine bring glory to the Father.
We are branches of the Vine. The fellowship that comes from a body which grows from Him defies explanation. Personalities that would normally clash find unity in expression. Temperaments made for competition lovingly serve each other. Small embraces large, tall bends to meet short, shy is affirmed by gregarious, insecure melts beside understanding and heaven claps as worship ascends from the vineyard.
I look forward to my heritage with brothers and sisters on eternal ground fashioned by the Vine for fruitful living. The Vine is beyond amazing. To be His branch is beyond blessing.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.—C. S. Lewis
©2008 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)