You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. (John 15:16–17)One line in my devotional reading puts another picture in my head. It says, “Grapes grow in open air on reaching vines; they don’t do well buried in the ground like potatoes.”
This prompted me to go online and find out how grapes are grown. After the surprise on my search engine (the photo for the day was a vineyard), I found all sorts of interesting things about vineyards. Because God created them and knew all this, there is more to Jesus’ vineyard analogy than first glance.
One source says grapevines are best planted without doing anything fancy to the hole in the ground. It said to leave the structure of the soil in place as much as possible and put mulch materials on top only. Then it added to let the plant get its nutrients from the soil that it has to grow in.
I think of a Christian poster says, “Bloom where you are planted.” In other words, God uses me where I am. He does not fuss about “ideal” conditions but teaches me to adapt to my situations and be fruitful in them, not looking for perfect soil before I bear spiritual fruit.
Another source says that each type of grape vine grows in its own way. This means each type has to be trained differently. One variety droops so must be trained high and allowed to droop downward during the growing season. Another type must be trained low and allowed to grow upward.
Our Gardener also gives Christians this consideration. He understands my needs and knows how I grow and what training will produce the best fruit. Each Christian will have their own special requirements and the Vinedresser pays attention to each as they need it.
This source also said that grapevines need maximum exposure to the sun to be able to ripen the grapes. If they grow out of control, the vine leaves begin to shade the vine and this allows for disease and insects to ruin the fruit. They also must be pruned properly each year for maximum fruitfulness and health. This pruning removes 75-90% of the previous year's growth. While this seems drastic, it maintains health and vigor of the vine and means maximum fruit production.
Jesus talks about pruning sin and all unnecessary things from my life. He says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He (the Father) takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).
Jesus knows what will keep me from bearing the spiritual fruit that will glorify my Father. He knows just how much heat, light, water, and shelter grapevines need — and how much encouragement, spiritual enlightenment, nourishment and protection I need.
Grapes do not grow in the ground like potatoes. They grow in open air and connected to the Vine. To be fruitful like a healthy grapevine, all I need to do is abide in my vine, Jesus Christ, and let Him provide the rest.