Obviously, believers are the branches. When we come to Jesus for salvation, He takes us onto Himself as hen receives her chicks or a vine receives a grafted branch. This is but another aspect of being part of His body. We are many members as we are told in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. We all have different functions, but we are one. It is Jesus’ responsibility to supply both our spiritual and physical needs. Our responsibility is to receive His righteousness, which ultimately produces good fruit. As members of His body, we carry that same responsibility to supply the spiritual and physical needs to the world. And thereby, bring others to Christ who are merely branches without the Vine. These branches are withering and dying. They need Jesus.
God’s sole purpose in grafting us into the Vine is for us to be productive, according to Ephesians 2:10—For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Although Jesus warns the unproductive branch will be cut off (John 15:6), that is not His desire or purpose. According to Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson, vinedressers value every branch. If a branch falls to the ground, they carefully wash it and tie it up again. They mend broken branches by wrapping them tight to the vine in hopes of restoration. Only if the branch is diseased beyond restoration or dead, do they cut it off and burn it.
Every time I fail, I picture Jesus picking me up and washing me off like a vinedresser does to a fallen branch. Jesus doesn’t discard me as a useless branch. He picks me up, washes me off, bandages my wounds, and holds me close again.
Although Jesus doesn’t discard us as useless branches, He may prune us to make us more productive. Pruning may come through health issues, financial struggles, relationship difficulties, or a myriad of other trials. Pruning hurts. Pruning is necessary. Pruning is beneficial. It also means we may have times of little productivity. Grape vines produce in abundance for several years. Then they “rest” for a couple of years, in that they produce less fruit than before. But their vinedressers don’t cut them off and burn them. They watch them. They fertilize them. And they wait. The branches eventually produce an abundance of fruit again.
See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks