“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.”
Never to Grow Again
A few months ago, a bad storm caused significant tree damage in my yard. I had to call a tree service to help me assess the situation. Fortunately, they didn’t have to take down any trees, but they cut down dozens and dozens of branches, big and small.
As those branches fell to the ground, it occurred to me they would never again grow. Never. They had been removed from their source of life, the trunk. And as the old saying goes, once anything stops growing, it starts dying—that’s the promise of production.
Our Only Source of Life
We know Jesus was a carpenter, but I’m guessing He also knew a thing or two about gardening. He knew from experience that once a branch is disconnected from its vine, it starts dying.
In today’s passage, Jesus makes a comparison between our spiritual productivity and the productivity of the tree branch. Staying connected to our source of life, Jesus Christ, is the key to our spiritual survival. But Jesus goes beyond ensuring our survival. He promises we will be spiritually productive if we stay attached to Him, just like tree branches are productive provided they stay connected to the vine (like the trunk).
A Simple Promise
I’ve read this passage many times over the years, and it always reminds me of the peach trees on my uncle’s farm. I remember seeing thousands of peaches on branches that wouldn’t be there unless those branches were connected to the tree trunk. The fruit needs the branches, and the branches need the vine.
Jesus doesn’t tell us what our fruit will look like; that’s a function of how we choose to use our spiritual giftedness. Nor does Jesus even tell us what it means to stay connected. For me, it’s time in God’s Word, regular times of worship with fellow believers, and sensitivity towards a life that honors Christ. If we stay connected, the fruit will be there. That’s the simple promise of productivity.
Consider what it means for you to remain close to the source. Are you truly remaining and abiding in His love for you? Does your life show fruit through your obedience to Christ and His ways? Thank Him for making a way for you to abide in Him and for the grace that makes this love possible.