Last week we looked at Gas-Station devotions, that approach that sees ‘some time with God’ as ample to fill you up with what you need until you run out and need him again.
But there is an approach where the same thing – daily devotions – can be life-brining, meaningful, and helpful throughout the day.
When Jesus spoke to his followers about their relationship, he described it as a branch connected to a vine. Cut it off, and it dies. Keep it attached, and it can’t help but produce fruit. But it doesn’t produce fruit because it’s such an amazing branch, but because it’s connected to a healthy and good vine.
If we can focus some time each day, reminding us of our need to stay attached, refocusing our attention, and strengthening our attachment, it’s a great way to start your day.
When Jesus had his feet anointed with fine perfume (Matt 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, John 12) those present complained about the waste. The disciples said the perfume could have been sold, and the money used for a good deed. But Jesus defended the action.
Perhaps we can see the time we spend with Jesus like that. Sure, there are lots of other good things we could spend that time on. It may even feel like a waste. But Jesus seems to think it’s the right thing to do.
Read over John 15: 1-11
I Am the True Vine
“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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
What would it practically mean for you – today – to recall throughout the day, that you can only produce fruit if you remain attached to the vine?
What changes can you make to today- that allow you abide more deeply?
God of all good things,
You have invited me to be part of your redemption story,
and you have good things for me to do,
but only if I remain connected to you,
can I do anything that is actually good.
Give me awareness of my connection to you,
all throughout today.
Help me stay firmly connected to you,
no matter what happens.
Let me be a branch that produces something good today,
not because of who I am,
but because I am attached to,
and abide in you.