“I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain joined to me, and I to you, you will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me.”
Have you noticed that without power food in your fridge goes bad? Have you experienced the discomfort of a warm summer night when your air conditioner is not working? Have you ever stubbed your little toe while trying to navigate a dark room because there was no power? Without power things within us and around us can go downhill pretty fast, especially in this modern technologically driven age. While training in Chaplaincy at a local hospital, I noticed that there was an alternate power source that kicked in when the main power source went down. Hospital administrators understood that the lives of the patients depended on this steady source of energy supply, and that without it many patients would die or contract dangerous bacteria that could eventually kill them.
To live victorious Christian lives we must be plugged into the power source. Jesus is our power source. Jesus reminds us that he is the vine and we are the branches and in order to be fruitful we must remain connected to him. The branches can only be heathy and strong, as they receive life giving sap from the vine. Apart from the vine, they become brittle and eventually break off and die. Bearing spiritual fruit is not about us working hard through our own efforts, it is about God working his good works through us. The moment we unplug from the power source and act as though it is about us, Christian passion fizzles out or goes bad, and we may even become resentful concerning the demands being placed on us and then we are only fit to be cut down and thrown away.
From experience, I know when I am unplugged from the power source. I find it hard to pray and I feel unmotivated to engage in spiritual activities or I attend to them as mere tasks to be ticked off my long list of “to do’s”. When this happens, I check my connection by going back to the place where I first received Jesus; where Jesus loved me just as I was and he reminds me again of his love for me and of his desire to be in relationship with me and I am renewed and restored. When we are disconnected from the power source, we fumble, we stumble and we struggle or we become completely lethargic in spiritual things. There are many things in life vying for our attention. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times, “I am so busy.” These obligations can, from time to time, create a circuit overload that disrupts our power source.
Jesus says to you today, “I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain joined to me, and I to you, you will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me.” Are you exhausted? Are you frazzled? Does life seem overwhelming to you right now? Check your power source. God wants you to be plugged in to him because when you are plugged in, there may be an occasional jolt or surge, but being connected to the power supply helps to take care of the overload and your spiritual system will keep humming along and bearing fruit just as God intended. God wants you to put first things, first. Remember Mary and Martha? Martha was frazzled by all the things that needed to be done, but Mary chose to sit at the savior’s feet. Jesus says to Martha, “Martha, Martha,”...”you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42).” Choose to be Mary; make time to sit at the savior’s feet so that you might be renewed and restored, for only that which you do for Christ will last.
Loving God, your word says that we are your “workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which you prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10)” Give us a deeper appreciation for what this means, and help us to remain plugged in to you, as we do your work here on earth. Remind us again through the power of your Holy Spirit that our goal in life should be to please you, for we must one day appear before the judgment seat, to give an account of the things done while in this body (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). In Jesus’ name, Amen.