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Written by Nancy Ruegg @ http://nancyaruegg.com
View original post @ http://nancyaruegg.com/2015/10/26/god-our-vinedresser/
God Our Vinedresser
October 26, 2015 by Nancy Ruegg
(“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” — John 15:1)
With that metaphor, Jesus began teaching his followers about living like branches and abiding in him, the vine.
No doubt the disciples readily pictured a vineyard and the vinedresser tending to his work. They would have been familiar with the tasks he performed to assure a maximum yield.
But today, most of us live far removed from the sources of our food and drink. We have little knowledge of what ranchers, farmers, or vinedressers do to assure a high quality product.
We’re left wondering as we read this verse, How is God like a vinedresser?
Here is what I discovered:
His/her main duties include caring for the vines, pest management, irrigation, pruning, and harvest.
Caring for the Vines
Grapevines produce fruit for thirty to fifty years. Therefore the vinedresser comes to know each vine like a shepherd knows each sheep. He understands the special care each one requires and how to provide the best growing conditions, depending on the type of grape, the amount and direction of sunlight, the soil conditions, and more.
When branches grow long enough, the vinedresser lifts them up from the ground and gives them support so they can grow upward toward the sun. This practice also helps protect the vine from disease.
Vinedressers remove individual leaves to increase the amount of sunlight on the grapes and air circulation around the clusters, which improves the color and flavor of the crop. The vinedresser must know which leaves to remove, depending on the angle of the sun. Just the right number must be chosen also. If too many leaves are removed, the vine won’t be able to absorb enough sunlight for photosynthesis. If not enough are removed, the crop will fail to achieve optimum quality.
Weeds must be removed by hand or with a hoe. Contemporary vinedressers might be tempted to use a Weed-Eater, but it could easily damage the trunks of the vines. Insects and diseases must also be eradicated.
Though grapevines can survive dry conditions, parched vines will not produce much fruit. Some experts recommend watering deeply and thoroughly so roots receive plenty of moisture.
Grapevines produce some branches that are barren and worthless. These must be pruned radically. In fact, “vines never produce to full capacity without drastic pruning” (William Barclay).
The vinedresser knows the exact moment to harvest. The grapes are plump, juicy, and rich in color. The skins are slightly transparent; the flavor a balance between sweet and tart.
Given even this scant information, we begin to appreciate God’s role of Vinedresser in our lives:
He knows each of us just as an attentive vinedresser knows his vines (Psalm 139:1-5).
He tends to us with vigilant, individualized care, providing circumstances, relationships and events that will create the best growing conditions for our souls (Titus 2:11-14).
He lifts us up, encouraging our development toward the Son (James 4:10).
As we submit to our Vinedresser, he eradicates the disease of sin (Psalm 103:3).
He provides streams of living water so we need not fear a year of drought. We can continually bear the fruit of the Spirit and good deeds (Jeremiah 17:8).
Like any wise vinedresser, he prunes with discipline, cutting away bad habits, erroneous beliefs, harmful influences, poor attitudes, pride, selfishness and more. He helps us become spiritually healthy as well as productive influences in the world (Hebrews 12:5-11).