John 15 talks about the vines and branches, it’s a passage that i’ve been sitting with for a while, and i’m not really the type to sit and meditate on scripture. I’m a lover of analogies, so this is right up my alley.
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
I’m a strong believer in goal setting and pushing to actually achieve those goals, but are we really missing the point? Branches bear fruit by staying connected to the source, not by venturing off and striving as hard as they can —regardless of that high achieving branches good intentions.
This morning in church I had shared with the congregation a story that occurred a couple months ago leading up to the True Pursuit, Inc.Weekend at Timber Wolf Lake – A Young Life Camp. I was feeling pretty restless about life, training for an event that I knew I just needed to finish but wasn’t really excited about finishing.
I met up with a friend the morning before leaving on the retreat, and he asked me what I was hoping to get out of the weekend. I answered that I was really hoping to hear something from God, as I had felt pretty disconnected: I didn’t feel like I was hearing anything from the spiritual camps in those preceding months. I really wanted to get some clarity on my life direction, how to move forward, and what way to take my business activities.
All good things right? My strengths finder test has me high in Futuristic thinking, so being forward thinking is kinda my thing.
So I get up to the weekend, and there’s a couple training runs I needed to complete- a 5 miler on thursday and then a 10-14 miler on saturday.
That thursday afternoon, as other men started arriving for the weekend, I found myself in the bunk room reluctantly lacing up my running shoes. Ready to embark on 5 miles.
Mile 1 started like all mile ones for me: a list of complaints from all over. Ow, what happened to my back? What’s wrong with my toe? Hmmm, my knee kinda hurts. What do you mean i’ve only gone half a mile?
After mile one it’s usually smooth sailing, and this run was no different.
As I approached the half way point of the run, my thoughts were likely fixated on business to do lists and other aspirations, and I was suddenly attacked by a rush of calmness. And there was a voice that was saying “You’ve come so far, You’ve come so far” the voice repeated itself several times.
The voice was saying: dan. chill out. things are good now, you’ve come far, and you’ll go far, and you know what? I’ll be there with you. It’s not you alone.
So back to the vine and the branches. It’s easy to think we need to do all of these great things in order to live productive lives, but in reality, its a little easier.
Our job is to remain in him. That’s it.
Remain in him and we will bear much fruit.