Wednesday, May 13

Devotional: Hey, look at that branch!

How crazy would it be to visit a great white shark exhibit at an aquarium and declare: “Look at that really cool blue water in the tank!”?

How crazy would it be to observe a ski lift at a resort and declare: “Look at that really cool cable!”?

How crazy would it be to tour a vineyard with the vinedresser himself and observe all the beautiful grapes on the vine and declare: “Look at that really cool branch!”?

Look at that branch? Are you kidding me? Standing before this incredible fruit and the person that developed the fruit and I am going to comment on the branch. That’s crazy!

Crazy as that might sound we might be guilty of doing this very thing and with far more damaging effect!

Read: John 15:1-8
1"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2"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.
3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4"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.
5"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.
6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

You are a branch (v.2). Not very glamorous, not very remarkable in the grand scheme of things. A branch. People might notice the beauty of a tree or a vineyard and some people might acknowledge the quality work of the vinedresser. Some will notice the quality fruit that comes off the vines but no one really pays attention or comments on the branch.

A branch is a conduit. It is a subway. A branch is a route and a freeway. A branch is a way of getting something from one place to another. A branch is only as valuable as it allows the Vine to produce fruit.

You are a branch. That can be an uncomfortable thought for some. So much of church “ministry” today is centered on telling us how significant we are. It is almost as if the pop-psychology of the 70s and 80s has finally climaxed in a message of our over-stated importance. This is now reflected in some of our “worship” music today. Sobering thought!

You are a branch BUT you have a purpose! You have value to the master vinedresser. You have a purpose: to bear fruit! We are conduits by which the vine produces fruit. Like we saw yesterday and last week, the goal is to let the Holy Spirit do his work THROUGH us.

Your branch must bear fruit! If you have the best Vinedresser (v.1) and the True Vine (v.1) you cannot not bear fruit! Think through that. The setting is perfect. The circumstances are perfect. God is at work!

Tomorrow we will talk about what it means to “abide” in the vine and kind of fruit we should be looking for.

God loves you and he loves me. There is no question that his special love is directed toward believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we do not want to overstate the importance of our role. We are servants. We are children. We are branches. We are broken pots. The only real glory is if God does something in and THROUGH our lives.

We might not like that or want to hear that … if we are honest. But, in the grand scheme of things our lives are a vapor. We come and go quickly and no one will remember us. In the grand scheme of things we are not the vinedresser or the vine. In the end we are not God or the fruit God produces. We are tools in his hands. We are conduits / freeways / subways / water / cables / branches.

The greatest impact you can have is really not your impact. It is what God does in and THROUGH you! Isn’t that what you really want any way? I don’t want people talking about ordinary water when there are ginormous sharks swimming in there! I don’t want people talking about cables when they see a ski lift coursing its way up a snow-covered slope! I don’t want people talking about a branch when they see a beautiful vineyard!

Oh, may God be glorified as we get over ourselves and out of his way! When people see fruit may we be wise enough to talk about the True Vine and not the branch. Not to us O Lord, not to us, but to you alone be the glory.

Listen to He’ll Take Care of the Rest by Keith Green in the DevoLink Worship Center. Listen to the words! He is Devine you are de branch. Classic 70s!

DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.