Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. Disconnect from him and you may not die immediately, but guaranteed you'll whither over time.
— Pastor Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) June 9, 2013
Whether directly or indirectly, there’s been a lot of talk of vines in my life this past weekend. Between the photo I took of the setting of my Saturday evening jam session, the tweet quoted above and a long conversation with Erik Sunday night, my weekend centered around vines, or a vine, in particular. I know I might’ve lost you on that last one, but bear with this vine-speak, please.
The thought of the vine
The vine to which I’m referring is Jesus. He literally calls Himself the vine in John 15. It is this vine that provides the very source of life for the Christian. It is this vine that we leaves cleave to for life. But, we’ve lost this fact somewhere along the way. It is the vine that directs us, feeds us; He is our originator and sustainer of life. It’s easy to take this for granted with someone so steadfast, so consistent. It’s easy to stray.
The vine conversation that wasn’t
Last night, Erik and I talked for awhile about a major way I feel the Church has strayed from the vine, from its source of life. Yep, we talked about sexual purity and how many of us are not taking nutrients from the vine in following the advice clearly laid out in this area, but instead are trying to somehow make our Christianity more salient by sufficing for less than what we know is right, know is best. I won’t go on any further about this topic, but I’ll reiterate, we’re straying from the vine, but what’s frightening isn’t the what, but the why.
Why the vine?
I think this is the question many millennials are asking today, just not in so many words. We’ve seen marriages, families rise and come crashing down, lives ruined and hatred all coming from Jesus-touting individuals. Most of these people have been normal, God-fearing individuals, some radicals. But, the fact of the matter is that Christianity hasn’t had a great track record as of late. Couple that with a growing distrust of institution we learned from our parents and disenfranchisement and Jesus is a tough sell these days. Who wants eternity when it’s so far away and today is right out in front of us? Who cares about tomorrow’s consequences today? Because eternity begins today and those consequences, as Mr. Driscoll noted, are today, however slight. Because Judas wasn’t broken in a day, but broken down over a series of poor decisions. We’re just too blind and calloused to see.
In a very real sense, Jesus is the vine that supplies our souls with the very life we Christians come to take for granted. But, because He will never forsake us, we stray. We forget we need Him and He lets us go for a while. He doesn’t write us off, but He knows we will return to Him once we’re face-to-face with our dire consequences. Sadly, for many of us, it takes losing our livelihoods, our families, our joy before we’re willing to open our eyes and look Consequence in the face. Sadly, we think we can make a go of it on our own, so our true friendships, our Bibles, collect dust while we think we’re living it up (YOLO, after all). However, we’re missing the point and slowly dying in the process. Friends, let’s take an honest look today and start off this week getting back on track to where we were when we first found our joy.