My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Monday, May 08, 2006

Branches of the vine

Yesterday I taught children’s church again (we are on a rotating schedule). When I wanted to prepare the lesson, I realized that we had changed the schedule and I had the wrong book. I just knew that I had to teach on John 15:1-7. So I prepared the lesson myself. What might at first have looked to me like some extra-work, turned out to be a blessing. Normally every activity we do during the lesson is already laid out in the curriculum we use. Actually that makes it easy – but it also means that I don’t have to prepare in depths if I am too lazy or just too busy (?). I just have to get the crafts material.
I love preparing lessons myself, but most of the times I take the easy way and just go with the curriculum’s suggestions – which are good. But preparing the lesson myself is first beneficial for me – I really think about what I want to teach my little class – and second for the children. My heart is then more in the lesson than otherwise I think.

Yesterday’s lesson was on the vine and the branches. God is the gardener, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches of the vine – destined to bring fruit. Such a familiar truth – and so good to ponder again! A gardener who owns an orchard wants his fruit trees to bring fruit. I asked the children in my class what a fruit farmer would do with a tree that did not bring fruit. Of course we had several suggestions – build a tree house, enjoy its beauty... – but they all saw the obvious: cut it down and use it for firewood. This is exactly what Jesus told the disciples: every branch that does not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. Beware!

We are expected to be fruitful – to bear fruit, godly fruit. With God’s help, for we cannot do it on our on. I should constantly check my life in God’s light to see if I bear fruit. Many different kinds of fruit there are: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, self-control, prayer, reading God’s word, obedience, diligence, perseverance, love for work (be it at home or in a paid job), ...
Isn’t it wonderful that God is a loving gardener who helps us to grow and bear fruit? If we bear fruit, he will prune us – which does not necessarily sound easy on us – so that we can bear more fruit. If – and only if – we are connected to Jesus, the vine.