I did not choose the following scripture to discuss doctrine or to study its deeper spiritual meaning; I selected it because of the clear word picture it will hopefully paint in your mind and on your heart forever.
“Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches because of abundant water. Its branches were strong, fit for a ruler’s scepter. It towered high above the thick foliage, conspicuous for its height and for its many branches. But it was uprooted in fury and thrown to the ground. The east wind made it shrivel, it was stripped of its fruit; its strong branches withered and fire consumed them. Now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and thirsty land. Fire spread from one of its main branches and consumed its fruit. No strong branch is left on it fit for a ruler’s scepter.” Ezekial 19:10-14
When I look out from behind the keyboard on Sundays, I can see the forlorn faces of people who are hurting, people who have been blown about and stripped of their worth by the difficulties of life, people who have been “burned” by those who were supposed to love them and people living in lonely desert places who are thirsting to death for living water…and my heart breaks but also somehow simultaneously swells with love. To love on these people in the name of Jesus is the reason we are called, for those of us working in ministry. Yes, it is a large order and as we answer this call, it will feel exhausting and exasperating at times but I urge you to press on and stay close to the source of your strength, the very One that will not ask anything of you that He will not help you accomplish. Remain in Jesus Christ our Lord, and then love one another as He has loved you.
“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.” John 15:5
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ “ John 4:13-14
Notice that the only way to find complete healing and filling is through Jesus. We in ministry must not try to take the position of healer or fixer of another person. God holds that position. We must always remember that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). We sometimes let our need to help others interfere with what God is doing in their life. Oftentimes, the very difficulties that a person is experiencing will be their pathway to knowing peace…found only in God. Sometimes God is in the process of pruning the weeds out of the life of an individual. If we are not connected to God and listening to the Holy Spirit, we may get in the way by offering quick fixes instead of offering the permanent solution…the living water offered in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus said…
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
So yes…we must allow God to show us how to help, how to pray and how to love on His behalf. That is the only way that we can love one another as He has loved us. It will often feel like it is not enough but that is probably because it is God doing the work through us as opposed to us working for the Kingdom. If we stay connected to the vine (Jesus), we will do many things that we will not even realize are impacting a persons’ life in the Kingdom realm and this type of work gives God the glory.
So have you been…
Eager to help someone fix their issues and found out your solution was not helpful or even received?
Feeling like you want to help God with all of the many problems you see around you or even in your church?
Sensing a growing burden that it is futile to try to make a difference, after all what can one person do?
If that is where you find yourself today…great! You have come to the realization that a person can do nothing of real eternal value or impact unless God is helping them. We are just branches that should be always reaching for the light of Jesus who is the vine who keeps us connected to God and His marvelous ways and power. Will you join me in asking Him for help in serving and living a life for His glory? With His help, we can Choose to Shine!
Keep your eyes on Christ and remember…
You are loved!