Transformation Through Perserverence
“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. John 15: 1-2 (Amp)
The neighborhood community has many vineyards. Each block of residences and each work place and business location are vineyards. The school our children attend and the play grounds and ballparks of the community are vineyards. The hospitals, funeral homes, nursing homes, and rehab centers along with the post offices, firehouses, police stations, and city halls are vineyards. We engage in the vineyards of our neighborhoods to be vines and vinedressers at the same time.
As vinedressers we are called to be salt and light. We engage in community pathways for the purpose of pruning that which is decaying, so that the neighborhood vineyards will bear more fruit that is even richer and finer.
John 15:4 Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. 5I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. John 15: 4-7 (Amp)
An important word in this passage is remain. Ministering as light and salt takes perseverance. It is hard to miss this important point that Jesus is making. Perseverance is the essence of remaining and without remaining it is impossible to produce fruit. Without producing fruit, the community vineyards will decay. Remaining means to persist in a vital union and without such a vital union, we can do nothing. This vital union begins with Christ and His word and then extends to the neighbors in the community.
The care, nurturing and harvesting of the olive tree is mentioned throughout the scriptures. When grown in the traditional open-grove way, olive trees begin bearing fruit in the fifth year and have full fruit production in seven to eight years after planting. The more slow-growing olive trees take 65 to 80 years to reach stable yields of fruit. The trees can produce fruit for hundreds of years after their stable yields begin.
As we root ourselves as vines and vinedressers in the vineyards and hilltops of the neighborhood there comes a compulsion to persevere, to remain, to last, to endure, and to persist in order to produce fruit. The purpose and covenant to be the light of the world and to be the salt of the earth must persevere to preserve and shine with a vital union with Jesus and with a vital union with the community hilltops and pathways in the neighborhood.