God is the Gardener: As We Stay Connected to the Vine on the Support-Raising Journey

 

I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. . .  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 15:1 and 15:5

If I were ever given a tiny tree to mold into a shape, it would either end up brutally butchered or it would be whittled down to a naked nub in my attempts to shape it. In the right hands, bonsai is a beautiful art form that shows off the mastery of its artist. I, on the other hand, will stick to more of what I know best—stick-figured drawings.

Too often I try to shape my own life, and as you can imagine, the result is disastrous. I end up lying in a wounded heap, begging God to take back control. Sure, the idea and the plans I often come up with may not have been bad, but I need the master Gardner to shape and prune my life in order for me to shine the most beautifully for Him. I can’t do it on my own. I must stay connected to the Vine. The Vine is what gives me life and produces the fruit that ultimately gives Him the glory. He knows the plans that will make people stand in awe of the beautiful art that He makes.

The support-raising journey has the potential to make people stand in awe of God, yet how ironic it is that, on the path to being used by Him, we so often tightly hold onto our plans while raising support. By doing so, we operate “off the Vine”. It’s easy to do, especially if people see it as just a task that gets in the way of the “real” ministry. Then it becomes all about money and how fast we can get it. The only problem with that is the fact that money sends us into a panic, which time and again leaves us running on empty. We end up using our own hands to mold this journey into naked nubs that have no beauty. Nobody wants to see nor be part of that!

God promises that Jesus is the Vine that replenishes and restores us. He also promises that, as the Gardener, he takes the time to prune us to glorify Him. God shapes us along every journey in life, including support raising. It can be painful, joyous, tearful, celebrative—and more!. Whatever the case may be, we need to stay connected to the Source of Life. Remember that His plans are way more beautiful than our own. Then others can be in awe of His work, not ours.

  1. What plans and expectations have you held tightly to on this journey that’s overwhelming you? Give those plans and expectations to God.
  2. How have you seen God shape and mold your journey in order for you to be transformed to give Him the glory?
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