“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-2,5 NIV
Last summer, before the pandemic got so bad, we met our daughter in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York. We enjoyed a week on Seneca Lake and toured a few of the wineries in the area. There are an abundance of vineyards in the area. We heard an interesting story about the vines in this region.
The main grapes grown in the area in the 1950’s were American varieties, like Concord, because European varieties did not appear to survive the colder New York temps. Until a master viticulturist and wine maker from the Ukraine settled in the area. He used the hardier American vine root and grafted the European vine into it. He was able to grow the “vitis vinifera” grape used in many European wines like Resiling and Gewurztraminer.
I couldn’t help thinking of this story as I read through these verses in John’s Gospel. God is our gardener, the viticulturist, He grafts us into the vine of His Son when we profess our faith and are adopted as God’s children. With Jesus as our root, we, the branches are nourished and strengthened. We grow and mature and bear fruit. We may need pruning now and then to bear even more fruit, but with Jesus as our root, our vine, we can thrive.
Let’s all (myself included!) take time to examine the fruit we are bearing. Can others look at us, look at our “fruit”, and see that Jesus is our vine, our root? Do our lives, our words, and our deeds bear witness to God, our gardener?
This week, let’s each strive to bear good fruit. Let’s choose to be loving, kind, patient and gentle as we interact with others. Let’s reflect Jesus, our vine, in each of our lives. Let’s bear witness to our God and our Savior by bearing good fruit.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we all strive to bear good fruit.
Blessings and be fruitful!