Friday, November 2, 2012
Like brown, dying branches...
“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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." -- John 15:5-6
I am a very visual person. Many times before I write something, I see a picture inside my head that inspires the thoughts behind what words come out in this blog. This morning, as I read the familiar and comforting "I am the vine" verses, I see a branch that is slowly withering away. It was damaged for whatever reason, and got pinched off ALMOST totally from the life blood of the vine. Not many nutrients are flowing through its veins and the leaves and fruit attached to it are turning brown and falling off.
I am not very good with plants, (my family jokes that plants come to my house to die!) mainly because I forget to water and feed them. I get so wrapped up in my addiction to busyness that I forget to care for the green plant that resides in my home. I forget to water...so, I see branches of my plants turn brown and fall apart before the whole plant dies.
I remember one big healthy geranium I had in my kitchen at one time. It was an offshoot (or a baby geranium cutting) from an old, old plant my grandmother kept in her bedroom window. My mom gave me a cutting and I vowed to take care of it, and I did. I watered and fertilized it and it grew big and strong. I had to repot it. The leaves were large and dark green and when it bloomed, the stems of the bright red flowers were tall and strong. I enjoy watching it flourish and thought of my grandma's geraniums and how she cared for them.
Then, as my life tends to do, I got busy and tired and weak myself, and kept forgetting to care for my lovely geranium. I didn't even stop to "dead head" the old blooms. One day I stopped for a moment and took a look...it was dying. Many branches had withered away and the leaves were curled and brown. I began snipping the dead away...the main part of the geranium was still green and alive, and there was ONE branch that was clinging to life! I was ashamed of myself for forgetting my beloved plant...I began taking care of it again, giving it water and nutrients and sat it in the window with the brightest sunlight. Pretty soon, I saw a green leaf sprouting out of the one lonely, brown branch. As you can imagine, with care, the plant began to flourish again. That one branch grabbed all the life it could out of the main trunk and produced other branches and after awhile, it bloomed again.
That was a long story, but it illustrates our lives, doesn't it? We go through cycles, and when we stop relying on our Father God and the nourishment he provides through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we begin to wither away. This story from my memory is a reminder that nothing is impossible for God! He can bring life into something that seems almost dead!
Are you far from the nourishment and life blood of Jesus? Have you been damaged and pinched off from the vine? Do you know someone who has left the church and needs some gentle care and feeding? Don't forget to water! Don't sit back and let the branch wither and die...go to God for some food and water. It is there, you just need to get it flowing again! Be blessed today, my friends!