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Monday, 02 August 2021 00:00
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MyNeighborGreenThumbJohn 15:1-4

I have never had the proverbial "green thumb." I love beautiful landscapes and the end result of the work of those who know how to create them. Each spring, I get excited about going to the nursery to select the plants and flowers for the season. But no matter what I buy and plant, it never looks like the pictures on the tag or in my Better Homes and Gardens

On the other hand, my neighbor has an amazing green thumb!! Each year, I tell her how much I appreciate and enjoy her beautiful hanging baskets, annuals, and perennials. And I usually apologize that our plantings don't afford her the same pleasure. 

Gardening is difficult. Not only does it take hard work, but the gardener needs to know what kind of soil, sunlight, water, and fertilizer each plant, tree, flower, or shrub must have to produce the best results. ...and then there's the big matter of pruning and deadheading, which are key when it comes to any plant producing the best fruit or flowers. 

The bottom line is you can't just plant something and walk away, expecting it to look beautiful or produce fruit unless you take care of it all season. 

Jesus used the gardening metaphor when he explained to his followers in John 15 what it takes to produce fruit in his vineyard. The gardener (God, the Father) knows exactly what I (the branch) need to become a healthy, fruit-producing part of the vine (Jesus). Fruit-bearing is possible only if I am a part of the vine. He will cut away (prune and deadhead) the old attitudes and actions so I can produce new and good fruit. 

When my "green thumb" neighbor looks at the fruit hanging from my life, what does that fruit look like? Thoughts, attitudes, or actions that glorify God? The fruit from our lives is how God receives his honor on earth. Jesus said, "By this is my father glorified, that you bear much fruit" (v. 8). You bear inner fruit when you allow God to nurture in you a new, Christlike quality (Gal. 5:22). You bear outward fruit when you allow God to work through you to bring him glory (2 Cor. 9:8). 

I repeat: The bottom line is you can't just plant something and walk away, expecting it to look beautiful or produce fruit unless you take care of it all season. Pastor Tim Sprankle put it this way, "Our life with Jesus extends beyond worship services, prayer retreats, and early morning Bible studies. Life with him consists of eating and drinking, working and resting, praying and joking, praising and fishing, writing and reading, dancing and napping" (1 Cor. 10:31; Col 3:17). 

What kind of fruit does your life produce? Is there evidence that you are “remaining” in Jesus, the Vine?

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