Growing up, my Grandparents had a large grapevine that followed the path from the house to the barn. It probably measured around seventy feet. I remember helping Grandma picks grapes when they were ripe knowing that she would be making some of her famous Grape Jelly, which I loved (Store bought brands couldn’t hold a candle)!
Jesus used the vineyard as a picture for us and our lives. The vineyards were not producing grapes for jelly but rather wine. The one thing that a vineyard and my Grandmother had in common was both want their grapevines to be productive. In John 15:1-2 Jesus said: “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
We see that God the Father is the gardener and He wants His garden to be productive. Jesus goes on to say: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We are the branches that are to produce fruit. What is the fruit that we are to produce?
God intends for our lives to be productive, first, as we use our gifts and talents hopefully through our work environments. Specifically, Jesus tells us that we will be productive in our prayer life when we remain connected to Him as the vine: “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples” (John 15:7-8).
We also see throughout the Bible that we are to produce the “fruit” of the Spirit: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). God the Father wants us to be productive, we are created to be productive. Nobody wants a vineyard that does not produce fruit.
We live this productive life by making a moment-by-moment decision to follow Jesus. That is where we get nourishment and life. It is natural for us to be productive, just like a grapevine naturally produces grapes, it is the natural restful product of our inner life as we follow Him.