Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me…He who abides in me, and I in him bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:4, 5b
Recently, a team of individuals from our church returned from an educational trip to Israel. Each one that I have had the opportunity to talk with has given a different testimony of which experience or teaching time was among the most memorable. The story that strikes me is the teaching of the vineyard from John 15.
At seven weeks pregnant, this is the passage that spoke volumes to me as I grasped the definition of abiding. At that time, I marveled over the fact that there was a child currently abiding, making him/herself home in me, depending on me for sustenance, health and well being. He dwells. She rests.
How fitting, then, that as I near labor this is the passage that resurfaces. Although the baby will no longer abide in me, s/he will still abide with me. He will still depend on me for daily needs – food, transport, and comfort.
The teaching time my friend shared was how the Jewish gardener would tend to his vineyard with care. Those branches that were productive, were pruned, to make more productive. Those that were attached to the vine, but were on the ground, were “picked up” and “cleaned”. They were lifted off of the ground, rinsed off and placed on the wall, to be made more productive. Finally, those branches that had fallen off, no longer attached to the vine, in essence, dead, were still useful. They too served a purpose in the garden and were placed along the wall. The key is that the gardener is the one who did all of the work. All branches ended up in a position of purpose because the gardener placed them there. Those that were attached to the vine were fruitful, thus more productive, but nothing was useless.
My decision is how I will choose to be used. Those who are attached to the Vine-Christ, abiding and dwelling in Him are shown to be much more productive- as HE defines productivity – fruitful. But, the productivity does not come from performance, reputation, striving. The branches are incapable of pruning, cleaning or placing themselves on the wall. Productivity comes from abiding or making ourselves at home in Him. Contrary to how things may look, we do nothing.
During this time I am tempted to become obsessed with how we will raise this child. He must be respectful. She must be obedient. I want him to do this. I would love for her to do that. Truth be told, the greatest gift we can give this baby is to abide in Christ, the Vine. If we are resting in Christ, He will give us the wisdom to raise the baby in the way he should go. After all He created him. God will show us how to bring up the child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. He wired her. He will point this “arrow” in the direction it should go. He ordained his days.
Our role? Abide. God’s role? Everything else. Sound easy enough….
ps. Thanks Stacey for sharing this teaching time with me!