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For the last ten thousand years humans have harvested grapes to create wine. It’s a difficult process that takes an experienced vintner, good soil and perfect timing. The wine maker prunes the vines, checking for signs that signal the exact day or night when the grapes will be ready for harvest. It’s a lot of hard work, but when it’s done right, it’s worth the effort.
Jesus was no stranger to great wine. His first miracle was changing water into some of the best wine ever tasted. But his familiarity goes deeper than that. In the gospel of John, he describes his relationship with each of us like this: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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 15:1-3).
Like a healthy vine, Jesus provides a steady flow of life to us, while God the Father acts as a loving vintner, knowing when and where to prune unhealthy, dying branches so that we might grow more fully and in the right direction. And of course, all of this is that we might “bear good fruit” — the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life. Fruit that leads to all the other fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But like a great wine, the process of transforming our lives from broken vessels into finished works of redemption can take a long time and can feel difficult and even painful along the way. Fortunately, we have a patient, wise, and loving savior who is both vine and vintner, guiding the process of our redemption with grace and love.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.