I must confess this is my favorite time of the year for my garden. Watching things grow before it gets too warm in the Texas sun is so educational. My concord grape vine is in its 4th year of growth. The first year there were no grapes but the last couple of years, with pruning, the harvest has been plentiful. I have found with much pruning the leaves and grapes grow bigger.
When the grapes first start to grow they look like tiny pin heads in a cluster and then week by week with sun and rain the grapes grow to perfection – that is if the small barn finches don’t eat the grapes before they are ready to be gathered. I’ve noticed that as the branches weave along my fence the outer branches are the ones that the birds go to first because they are the most visible and easier to pluck. The grapes that are hidden among the leaves and closer to the vine have a better chance of surviving this maturing process.
My thoughts went to the small miniature grapes just beginning to grow. They remind me of how God sees a new baby soul that has decided to turn from sin towards God. They may be in an infant stage but are no less beautiful to our Creator. He sees them as needing special care. If they get too far out on a limb the birds can come and devour them before they reach maturity. The Lord has told us in John 15:5 to abide in the vine. The vine is where the branches get their nutrients as they branch out in many directions. Obviously, those closest to the vine get the nutrients the fastest and the further out they branch the further they get from the main nutritional support system.
When I prune my grape vine there are usually many branches that just dry out and can easily be snapped off. Somewhere in this growth process they stopped getting nourished by the vine. Now they are useless and only good for kindling. Obviously, a dried up vine is incapable of producing fruit.
In Andrew Murray’s wonderful book entitled “Intercessory Prayer” he says that God is not as interested in the woody part of the branches as He is in seeing if they will produce fruit (grapes). Are we producing fruit in the Kingdom of God? Are we abiding in the Vine? If we abide in the Vine of God’s Word and His holy Church we will bear fruit – it is inevitable. It is simply part of the process.
Some independent souls think they can make it alone just feasting on the Word of God, but that is not the Lord’s complete plan. That kindof thinking can lead one astray with an independent spirit. They are “out on a limb”. The Lord ordained the Church to represent Him here on earth and it is in daily Bible reading and prayer and Church faithfulness that we fulfill the plan of God. I am grateful for my Pastor, Bro. Rick Flowers, who has faithfully fed the flock of God as the Lord has inspired and anointed Him, for over 30 years. I am grateful for the grapes that cluster at Emmanuel Pentecostal.