Saturday morning I took my dog Nicki for a walk and we ended up at the wrong place at the right time.
We had to pass a GIANT German Shepherd by stepping into the street. Nicki got spooked and she bolted. I went with her, falling smash! to the street, and my left hand hit the side of the curb. When I sat up my pinky finger was going to the left instead of to the front. I saw my day before me, it sure wasn’t going to be yard work I had dreamed; it would be a trip to the emergency room instead.
It seems such a small injury, but it seems to affect everything I do. My lack of ability to do what is normal to me has caused me to reflect on the process of abiding and bearing fruit that Jesus teaches us in John 15:1-5:
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
A period of abiding always follows a period of fruit bearing.
We know that a plant won’t bloom all year long; it takes seasons to rest and to rejuvenate. This is worth it; just look at the Rhodies coming out in their full glory right now!
We were created with the same cycle. We can’t keep going at full capacity for the whole day, week, year without eventually hitting a crash!
We are invited to stop and abide with our Creator; who knows us better than the God who made us?
Saturday I sat and watched as my family pulled dead bushes from the ground and pruned so many branches that they didn’t begin to fit in the yardwaste. It was such a great visual image of the abiding season that Jesus was calling me into that it only made me smile.
Those branches that went to the yardwaste will never again display a bloom. They are dead. Those that are still connected to the vine but look dead still have the opportunity to surprise us by sprouting a bloom.
This is also our reality.
When we remove ourselves from Jesus and his people, we are like the dead branch on the tree. When we decide to begin abiding with the Lord and experiencing his life flowing to us once again, we begin to sprout that small bloom that bring forth life. But if we get to the point where we totally turn our lives away from God and declare that we are fine without him, we are the branches hauled away as trash.
Who are you?
Are you the one that has been busy bearing fruit and being called to rest and abide with Jesus, the one that pursues you in relationship
Are you the seemingly dead branch on a bush that has gone through a harsh winter and needs to be re-connect with your Creator so his life can begin to flow through you again?
Are you one that is in danger of being pruned because life is apart from the plant?
My prayer is that whatever place you find yourself that you take some time today to abide and to experience the life that Jesus himself brings us as he tells us “I am the Resurrection and the Life!”
Today I am having surgery on my hand. As I continue to abide, I will be praying for Missio Lux that we truly learn to live the rhythm of life Jesus teaches: bear fruit, abide, prune, bear fruit, grow!