I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
The curbs were freshly painted; the lawns were recently manicured; and the houses had all been newly decorated. No one on the block was earning less than six figures, and all the children had newly pressed clothes to play in. Many bushes lined the suburb mixed with birdbaths and many other aesthetics, yet one lone tree stood at the end on the corner. In it was strung a younger man, no older than 16 years old, with a suicide note that said, “This tree has more roots than anyone here.” It was a statement that shook the neighborhood for the rest of its existence.
This young man, in a very terrible and traumatic way, expressed one of the key elements to our significance and ability to find purpose in our lives. It is the concept of being rooted in something, and that something that gives the most fulfillment is Jesus Christ. If we are not rooted in Christ and the Word of God, we float around depending on others to find our roots. Today, family rarely provides the roots we are looking for, and the younger generations are quickly noticing that their own accomplishments do not provide for them a sense of legacy and roots. What then are we to do?
In the classic verse John 15:5, we find Jesus proclaiming the simplest of instructions on how to be rooted in the right things. It’s not material possessions; it isn’t having an abundance of friends or never being alone; and it definitely isn’t found in the consumption of ridiculous substances. All that leaves us empty, yet the only way is to abide and be rooted in Him. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
But Jesus doesn’t end it there. In our Western culture, we see this passage strictly in the personal and don’t apply it corporately. John 15 paints the picture of a vine, grafted into a vineyard, where together the vines produce a harvest, not just a few grapes. That is the power of connection. That is the power of the true family of God, working together to produce fruit empowered by the Holy Spirit. Only then will we feel a sense of true belonging, being rooted in something other than ourselves.
God is very clear in this. We are not individual entities roaming around on this earth attempting to accomplish little wills of God in our everyday lives. God’s plan is the redemption of His people, and each one of us plays a part, together. Unfortunately, if the Church is supposed to be the body of Christ, we have had limbs amputated and mutilated, and we can no longer bow our knees to the Father because our knees aren’t attached. We need to come together again, playing our part in the body, so that we can increase our effectiveness for the Lord. As a connected body of Christ, we will bear not only the fruit on our individual branches, but together we will form the vineyard of God. And, finally, we will have roots.
Dear Father, thank you for providing me a family. You keep me rooted and grounded even when things feel chaotic. I know I can trust you always.