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He Said: growth and new life

Written by Timothy Burns on . Posted in Perspective

heshesaid“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15.1-2, ESV)

I put in my garden this weekend and this morning, I stood proudly amidst rows of corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers. I’ve learned this dance over the past few years. Plants and seeds go into the warm earth under the spring sunshine, and by fall my kitchen counters are filled with more tomatoes and peppers than I can hope to eat in the next 6 months. I still have a freezer full of beans.

I’ve also learned that between planting and harvest, the ground demands constant work. Weeds grow faster than fruit. Weeds drain the life giving nutrients from the soil, and left unattended, these parasite plants choke my plants, limit my harvest and produce more discouragement than joy. The only difference in the harvest is the work I will put into my twenty by thirty foot plot of ground for the next four months.

At the moment of Jesus’ most intimate conversation with his disciples, He used fields and crops, what they knew well, as his object lesson. He was leaving them. He would be dead on a cross within 24 hours of this very night. So he gave them two ideas that they understood culturally and personally.

First, Jesus said he was the vine. He didn’t tell them to build traditions, rituals, denominations or isolated sects. He didn’t tell them to build walls around their experiences with him. He said, “I am the vine, and you will be fruitful if you focus, remain, abide and live in me, my words, what I’ve taught you.” Abiding is active, not passive. Like pulling weeds, remaining takes intentional choices because the world around us will pull us away from Christ.

Second, Jesus said that if we don’t bear fruit, we’ll be cut away from the vine. If we do bear fruit, we’ll be pruned to be more fruitful. Ouch. Do I really want to hear that? Jesus doesn’t seem to give me much of an option here. Produce or perish – is that too harsh? When I read the other parables Jesus told about gardens, vineyards, fruitful and unfruitful trees, Jesus is consistent. He doesn’t tell his followers that they aren’t accepted if they don’t produce fruit. He doesn’t tell them to make sure that their group is good enough, or at least better than the next church down the street. He focuses their attention on His Father. Jesus said that the Father is glorified when we bear fruit that remains.

Jesus gave his life to glorify his father and complete the work he was given. This spring, what are you doing to be like Jesus?
Author Information
Timothy Burns
About Writer and Speaker Timothy BurnsI write and speak to inspire writers, transform lives and influence national culture toward a biblical worldview and conservative values. My works are socially conservative, culturally relevant and well researched from a biblical world view. As a self employed Christian writer and speaker, I “tent-make” by providing online social media marketing consulting and marketing services for authors, artists and publishers through my brand Visible Platforms. I manage social media promotion for the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference, the Advance Writers Bootcamp, and partner with numerous publishers, authors and web designers to provide social media marketing for their clients. I am a national mentor with Word Weavers, Intl.

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