The grapevines in our backyard are going crazy. No, actually, they are just doing precisely what they are created to do. They are producing grapes, grapes, grapes. Darrin had the boys bring the ripe ones in a few days ago–bowl after bowl, basket after basket, filling up the sinks, and I look outside my window this morning and it doesn’t even look like they made a dent. (note: the picture is NOT from our yard….got it off the internet :)).
So my thoughts are about grapes, abiding, John 15, fruitfulness and those kinds of things and here are some life lessons I’m learning from the grapes:
- grapes come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors…regardless of the type the key to producing any and all grapes is having a healthy connection to the Vine. The bigger the connection, the more the grapes. When I think about what abiding involves I realize it is simple but challenging depending on what is going on in my life. Abiding is all about the posture of my heart. Is it one of wilfulness where I am trying manufacture fruitfulness (Galatians 5:22-23 love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control) on my own power or effort. This leads to burnout, frustration and eventually the next posture of will-lessness. This is where I give up even trying or caring and go passive (like, “whatever” with the ‘w’ finger sign and rolling of the eyes) or is my heart willing. A willing heart–one that is open to whatever, whenever, whoever, wherever, for the Lord– is the one that abides in the Vine. It’s different from a martyr type thinking of having to do the hardest super spiritual thing like move to a foreign country to do missions and eat bugs. I think a willing heart is open to that, but more importantly it is being exactly where God has planted me and seeking to reflect Him where I am now, today. Willing is about not only going out, but also going inside and figuring out why I respond the way I respond. Open handed with my dreams, desires, plans, the people I love, my life. Willing.
- abiding is paramount but lately I have been thinking that nothing can substitute the TIME element when it comes to grapes. Young grapevines cannot produce the same quality and quantity of grapes that established vines do. Our first several years of grape growing produced very little fruit and very tart fruit at that. Our dear friend, Rollo West, went home to be with the Lord earlier this week. He was 86 years young. His memorial service will be tomorrow and it will truly be a celebration of a life well lived. He exhibited massive amounts of character fruit; sweet, abundant, a blessing to all who came in contact with him.
- some grapes are eaten straight off the vine, some are frozen for half time soccer snacks, but some have to go through a squashing process as they are made into jellies and jams, some are made into juice, some become fine wine, but bottom line: grapes are for sharing. We don’t really know what the grapes of our life are for or in what capacity God will use us. Each person’s life is unique and the time line we are given doesn’t look like anyone elses.
- spiders, ants, dirt, rotten grapes, are also part of the grape experience. Life is messy. Complicated. Why does that surprise me? The grapes must be cleaned before they are useable. My brother and sister-in-law and family are in town dropping off their oldest for college. The visited Universal Studios and saw the lot where they film all the outside neighborhood shots for “Desperate Housewives.” All of the flowers are fake. The whole thing is fake. I don’t want that kind of life even if it means bugs and dirt and mess.
Well, those are some of the thoughts floating around my mind. I’m sending the kids outside to get more grapes….