Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lessons From The Vine: Experiments With Grapes

My son, like a lot of boys out there, loves to do "experiments". The most recent one was a request to mix up his lemon-lime gatorade with some milk and see what would happen. When I replied that we couldn't do that experiment because it would be wasting food, he looked at me and replied incredulously, "But MOMMMMM, it won't be wasted. I'm going to drink it."

Pretty sure I threw up a little in my mouth at just the thought.


The "experiment" that he wanted to do just before that one was a little more tame. Almost a year ago, I wrote about our grapevines in this post, and well, they have been blossoming the past couple of weeks. It is so exciting to all of us! The blossoming represents SPRING! which represents WARM weather! (well... eventually) which represents playing in WATER! which, to my boys, represents hours of endless FUN! and, to me, represents hours of my boys being easily OCCUPIED by something other. than. me.

Can I get an Amen?

When my experimenting son, Pasco, asked me to explain how a grape turns into a raisin, I put on my Mommy-Knows-All hat and explained away. So intrigued he was by the explanation that he requested that we get two grapes and leave them out to dry in the sun. Hmmmmm. Two grapes. Yes, we could spare two grapes in the name of science.

So, we placed the two grapes on a Lighting McQueen plate and left them in the 80 degree sun.

After I put the boys in their rooms for naps/room-time, I went back outside to have some sanity-time... oh, I mean... alone time in the backyard. I sat there looking at those grapes and then looking at the vine. at the grapes. then at the vine.

And it sorta struck me. In a month or so, grapes would be hanging from that vine under a hot, Texas sun. Luscious. Juicy. Full of Life.


If you separate those exact same grapes from that vine and put them out under that same hot, Texas sun. They will be Shriveled. Dry. Dead.

Boy howdy.

Aren't we just like that???

Connected to The Vine, we are vibrant and joyful. We are bursting with praise and worship and kindness and goodness. We are full of His Life!

Separated from The Vine, we can become depressed, cynical, or embittered. We sometimes draw inward, saving each ounce of happiness just for ourselves. We tend to lose all hope and future.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing... When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. John 15:4-5,8
Now, please don't allow this to make you think "You need to do better. You need to read the Bible more. You need to go to church more often. You need to pray more. You need to... You need to... You need to..."

That's not at all what I'm trying to convey.

And remember, Jesus (who said all that stuff in those verses up there) also said, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30

Yes. Reading the bible is going to keep you connected to Him. Yes. Going to church is going to keep you connected to Him. Yes. Praying is going to keep you connected to Him.

But think about those grapes that will hang from that vine. They don't "do" anything! They just... remain. They stay attached. That's all. GOD is the one that fills them with nutrients. with water. with flavor. So, if I'm encouraging you (and oh, believe me, I'm speaking to myself here as well) to "do" anything, it's to stay attached to Him. to remain in Him. to cling to Him.

And He'll be making big, ol, juicy grapes before you know it.


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