Once she arrived she parked the car and hurried to the house. She scraped the mud off her boots and hung her coat up in the mudroom. The nip of fall hung all around her and the crackling fire was a welcome respite after being outside all morning. She laid the cut vine on her dining room table, eager to be in front of the woodstove. As the warmth of the fire began to penetrate her chilled bones she gazed across the room at the vine branch resting on the table. She grinned. She was going to have grapes! Perhaps she'd even be able to make wine someday.
The vine branch lay on the table day after day after day. Each time she walked past it she thought about the deep purple fruit she'd seen on the grape arbor from where this piece had been cut. She smacked her lips in anticipation some days, envisioning grape jelly on her toast, or a pretty ceramic bowl filled with the juicy plump goodness of grapes. Tart, sweet and dripping with juice. That was how she pictured it. And she would pat the withering vine and wonder again, how long it would really take for her little branch to bare fruit.
Are you wondering when she is going to plant this clipped vine? Do you know as well as I do that as long as this cut off branch lies on her kitchen table, without soil and nourishment, nothing, and I mean, NOTHING, will grow?
Ah, how foolish this person is, thinking that all she had to do was cut off the branch and bring it home and just lay it on the table and expect fruit to come from it. Yet, how often do I follow the same foolish path in my own life. I know how much I need to spend time in God's Word, and in communication with Him and with other believers, yet I foolishly commit the same mistake over and over again. I forsake my quiet time of reading His Love Letter to me, in favor of other things. I neglect studying His Word or seeking His face in prayer and supplication. I forgo my quiet time thinking I'll be fine without it. Or I do my time in the word and then walk away, taking little if anything with me, forgetting all about applying what I've read to my life.
And then I notice things.... my writing feels dry and withered. I lack enthusiasm for life and the people who love me. I am dried up, shriveled and thirsting for even a drop of Spiritual moisture. I become as brittle as the cut off branch on the middle of the kitchen table. And if by some miracle I was able to produce grapes under these conditions, they would certainly be sour ones.
The scripture that comes to mind right now is found in John 15.5: Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
Like the grapevine withering on the table, I need to be grafted back into the love and life that only Jesus can give. How about you?