I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
John 15:5-7, The Message
As I reflect on this verse in preparation for taking 14 youth group members on a mission trip this week, it reminds me of how essential it is for us to be connected to our life source in Jesus Christ in order to reach our full potential and to serve our purpose for Him. He truly is our vine of strength and life, and we are his branches carrying out that life.
So often we find ourselves reaching out to God and praying in our times of desperation and in our time of greatest need; and when God pulls us through and we get back on our feet, our temptation is to say, “Okay, God. Thanks for the help. I’ve got this now.” But the reality is that we need to stay connected to that lifesource throughout our existence – through our ups, downs, stressful times, and celebratory times – so that we can fully serve our purpose in him and bear much fruit. Just as a plant can’t all of the sudden decide it can exist without water or soil or light, neither can we say that we can ever reach a point where we can survive, let alone thrive, if left to our own devices.
God gives each of us talents and spiritual gifts to use for his glory in our life. The key is to discover that gift, and when we do, actually use that gift God has given us. He gives us everything we need, often times when we don’t even know it. We can all best remember God in our lives when he has pulled us through hard times. But my challenge to you is to remember and glorify Him in all times of your life, whether you are in the deepest, darkest valley, or on top of the world.
As people of Christ, connected to our lifesource in Him, we can do great things for the glory of God. When we do, it allows us to fulfill our call to make disciples for Christ. It’s been said time and again that Christians recognize each other by the way we love one another. When we are connected to the vine in Christ, we are best able to reach out and encourage each other, and connect more people to that life source. God wants us to be connected to Him and connected to each other. When that happens, we can experience more joy than ever before. We will truly be blessed to be a blessing to others.
Neil Richmund is a marketer who has a passion for helping churches impact the world – starting with the community that surrounds them.