This is the 4th week of our Lenten series on the seven I AM statements of Jesus. Each post this week will focus on Jesus as the Vine.
By: Amy Dalke
Last Saturday, Larry, Luke, and I walked down the jet bridge and boarded a plane that would carry us from Houston to Los Angeles.
While I was especially eager for all the fun that awaited us on the other side of our trip, I was also pretty stoked for the actual flight itself. Because flying on an airplane ranks on my Top 7 list of favorite things to do. Mostly because I can write for a long period of time with no distractions, while someone keeps my coffee cup full.
When I’m 30,000 feet up in the air, my phone doesn’t ring or ding; there’s no room to carry on crafting
supplies distractions; and Luke understands that I can’t drum up entertainment outside of what we toted onto the airplane.
It’s pretty much like heaven, if you ask me.
Although I have no fear of flying, it occasionally occurs to me that such a large piece of metal is really too heavy to fly on it’s own. So when I’m up in the air in a 400-ton machine, I’m completely dependent on the skill and expertise of the pilot.
Strangely enough, this kind of trust comes naturally to me.
So why is it that I readily put my life in the hands of a human pilot I’ve never met, but when it comes to obeying God, the fight with my will looks somewhat like roping a steer and wrestling it to the ground?
(Excuse me while I point out how odd it is for a cowboy analogy to show up in my writing.) (Carry on now.)
Is it because I’m not sure if God really knows best? I mean, I know an awful lot and all. And my way seems to look pretty good. Most importantly, my way feels good and safe, and that’s the main thing.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2
God, as the Vinedresser, has one purpose for our lives, and that purpose is to glorify him. As the master gardener, he cuts back stray buds to concentrate the growth in the shoots that really matter. The quantity of shoots in a grapevine weakens the quality of the fruit produced, therefore we need to eliminate the stray weeds for maximum crop growth.
We can spread our time across 101 activities. Or we can prayerfully cut our activities down to those that maximize God’s glory in our lives. Every single one of our Things might be really good Things that produce decent results and look okay on the surface. But if the things we do aren’t an outgrowth of God’s abundant life within us, then we won’t bear the best fruit that our lives were meant to generate.
It’s only when we sit back and let God determine how we fill the calendar that we truly begin to live out the design he had in mind.
I have like a college degree in distractions, so God routinely has to prune all the superfluous weeds that choke the spirit life in me. He often has to remind me of my tendency to embellish the simple beauty he intended for my life to bear with a little extra this and that.
Even church things, sometimes.
Airplanes are a happy place for me, because for 3+ solid hours, I do what I was made to do with no distractions. Your thing might not look like mine, but distractions abound just the same. Unless you live intentionally, you’ll miss out on who you were made to be. And I’m pretty sure those other diversions aren’t worth it.
Perhaps we can wake up each morning and step off that jet bridge where we hold onto some element of control; and step up onto the aircraft carrier that only God knows how to operate to the best capacity. As we travel through the day, we can trust that each stop is one that he purposed. And the frenzied distractions will be drowned out by the hum of the airplane.
Better yet, we’re better off leaving the distractions on the ground before take-off. God will no doubt eagerly give us the wisdom to discern the appropriate carry-on items.
I don’t know what the week ahead holds. But I know God has a destination planned that promises to be greater than the one we would choose on our own.
So hurry up, your flight is boarding.