grapevinetrellis“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”  (John 15: 1)

Excerpt from The Face of Grace: (a book resource we will release this summer.)

This passage from the gospel of John is very important to me because it carries me back to when my father was still alive and growing grapes on our farm in Virginia. It is also important to me because it illustrates the face of grace and the pathway God follows to reveal His glory.

The gardener prepares the soil as my father did when we first decided to plant a vineyard. We chose the field that had good drainage and the elevation to shield it from frost. We cleared the field of stones (over 10,000) and turned the land over multiple times to break the hold the briers had and we were successful.

We then built a wire trellis for each row we would plant and measured out everything so we could work the field properly once the vines were planted. Jesus declares, “I Am the true vine” and we’re about to see how He tends to his vineyard.

The gospel’s next verse is oft mistranslated. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15: 2) The first part of this verse should read, “He raises up every branch in me that does not yet carry fruit, and everything that bears fruit he prunes, in order that it bears much fruit.”

When a vine is first set, or planted in the ground, it cannot hold itself up. It gets droopy and left to itself would sit in the mire and mud and likely die. Therefore, the gardener extends extra care to these tender plants and raises them up tying or staking them to a stob. When we planted our vine, we took this step and also set a solid tube tree protector around each vine that provided extra warmth to spur growth, as well as, provided the vine with a channel in which to grow taller.

Jesus points this process is underway when he says to his disciples, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” (John 15: 3)

Thus, we changed the prognosis of the vine from stuck in the mud to climbing towards the trellis. Once connected to the trellis, we trained and banded the vine to follow the trellis just like the Holy Spirit trains and holds us in following Christ.

I would love to pray for you. If you can, leave a comment and let me know how you need the Lord to raise you up, today. And, thank you so much for reading my blog.