connection | John 15.4-8
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:4-8 | ESV
Connection – that’s the key! Life-giving, sustaining connection between branch and vine, between you and me. No connection, no grapes! It’s true of every branch – disconnected branches can be nothing other than grape-less branches! – And it’s true of you and me. No connection, no fruit. So let’s get this straight: Me = vine; you = branches; healthy, sustainable, viable connection between you and me = amazingly full clusters of grapes. Remove me, the vine, from this equation, and you’ve got nothing. Nada. Zilch. Anyone who loses that vital connection with me just became fuel for the fire – that’s the only harvest he can expect; instead of gathering grapes from him, he’ll be gathered with the rest of the deadwood for a bonfire. Ah, but with that vital connection with me, with all my spoken words among you all, imagine the possibilities! From such a place of vital connection will flow anything you could ever want or ask. To behold the beauty of a sweet, full cluster of grapes is to behold the beauty of my Abba – it is his achievement, the branch is just a glorified grape rack! And the rich vintage wine coming from such grapes bears only one label: “Christ Follower.” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
From Robert Scott Stiner’s book Lessons from a Venetian Vinedresser:
When it comes to making the best wine, there are certain things a vinedresser understands. One of those things is using the best grapes. These are the grapes that are the healthiest, the most potent, and the ones with the most vitamins and minerals received from the soil. Let’s call these the best grapes. The best fruit are the clusters of grapes that are closest to the vine. If I took one branch and stretched it out in a straight line starting from the vine to the tip of the other end, this is what we would notice:
The first clump of grapes closest to the vine would be the largest and the most potent, receiving the best of the vine’s nutrition. The second clump closest to the vine would be the next largest and second only to the first clump as far as potency goes, and so on down the line. The farther you get away from the vine the more the potency, size, and health of the fruit diminishes. Being close to the vine has its benefits. Aldo told me that “the first three clumps of grapes closest to the vine are the best to use if you want to make the best wine possible.” The rest of the grapes don’t have anything wrong with them and can still be harvested to make good wine…I am only speaking of the most sought after fruit; the fruit that can do the most good; the fruit that the vinedresser seeks for his overall plan and purpose, if he is to make the best wine…
As a branch, how close are you to the vine? How does the fruit of your life show this? (You may have to ask a friend or family member who can see this fruit to answer this question for you!)
Lord, deepen my connection with you, with your mercy, your grace, your truth. Keep me from being an outlying branch existing on the fringe. Graft me in closer to the Vine. Through Jesus.