By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
Annie planted grapevines along the edge of the pergola that shades our back patio. It’s become her year-long project. As the vines grow, you have to guide them along the wooden planks, teaching them to grow in the right direction. You then have to tie them up, so they don’t droop down. It’s really coming along.
Even though it’s Annie’s project, I usually get swindled into doing the dirty work (she’s too cute to resist). Because I’m a giant, she puts me to work tying the fallen vines with string.
One day, in particular, I was on a ladder gathering up the branches that were hanging down. As I reached for the vine beside me, something moved, fluttered, and smacked into the back of my hand. I may have let out a yelp, but the only witness to the event was my wife, and she’s sworn to secrecy.
When I had recovered my courage, I inspected the vine I had grabbed. There, balanced atop of a group of branches, was a small bird’s nest compiled with twigs, leaves, and mud. As I was tying up the vines, I must have scared a bird out of its nest.
When Annie puts me to work on her grapevine project, this verse always echoes in my ears:
“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” (John 15:5).
Jesus found the perfect metaphor for a healthy relationship with him. Like the branches Annie has been working on all year long, Christ teaches us and guides us to grow in the right direction. When we fall and stumble down the wrong path, His grace is always there to pick us back up and place us in the right place.
But then I thought about that bird’s nest, and I could relate to the bird that lived inside. If Christ is the vine and we are the branches, we must be connected to Him in order to bear fruit. But so many of us would rather set our nest on top of the vine. That way, we can say that we know Jesus. We can say that we’re close to him, but there’s none of the stress and trouble that comes with being connected to him.
With our nest rested on His vine, we can come and go as we please. We can enter into His comfort when things get tough, but why not take flight and tread your own path whenever everything’s going swell?
What’s wrong with that picture? Just like the bird’s nest I ran into, simply making your home on top of His vine without being connected is a dangerous place to abide. All it takes it a large gust of wind or a clumsy husband before everything comes tumbling down. You’ll also never grow fruit. You’re doomed to complacency and dissatisfaction.
This is why Christ calls us, not just to nest atop His vine, but connect to it. There, and only there, will we experience the fruit of security, peace, and provision.