Mile log: 547
Last week, Meng Pu said to me, "Your ministry is very good... you are like a sweet grape." He then proceeded to talk about John 15, and how those branches that remain with the vine bear much fruit... aka, those who rest and remain and receive their life from Christ Jesus grow and produce good things that bless others and lead others to desire to be with Him, too. A sweet grape... I smiled because I have never before been called that, but it felt like a high and honorable compliment that gave glory to God. After all, a grape is only good if it comes from a very good vine.
This week, I have not felt like a very sweet grape, though. In fact, there have been several times when I made myself sick with the sour and rotten thoughts and feelings I have allowed to rise up in me. Selfishness, pride, a desire to control and have things go the way I think they should go, and having a bit of a tantrum when they don't - these are not the qualities of good fruit, not evidence of a branch connected to the good vine.
Recently Hannah and I have been trying to grow a garden - some flowers, herbs and vegetables. And yesterday, while inspecting some of the plants, we found some brown leaves and shriveled flowers. I'm not sure why... they were attached to the main stalk, which was still green and had other healthy parts. But maybe these were more susceptible to the cooler winds we had this week, or maybe some sort of pest got to enjoy a feast and their expense, or maybe those bits spent too much time in the shade... regardless, Hannah worked, without hesitation, to pull off the dead bits, in order to make room for more growth, more life.
As a branch of the Vine, I do not want to have brown leaves or wilted blossoms or sour fruit. I want, first and foremost, for the Vine to influence who I am and what is produced in me. I need God to prune me - take away the dead bits that are not of him, and give me strength to resist and fight against the things that try to take me away from the Vine. I want him to be able to produce good fruit in me, and I want to live and respond to all things in a way that is glorifying and pleasing to him.