Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. – John 15:4
Vinoklet Winery and Restaurant is one of the few restaurants located in a vineyard in Cincinnati. It sits in a hilly region of Hamilton County, boasting of a panoramic view of its vineyard and pond. It hosts special occasions like weddings, receptions and art and wine festivals.
In Jesus’ time, vineyards abound where He lived and preached. Wine was cheaper than water. People drank wine as ordinary beverage during meal time. It is not surprising that Jesus should use vineyards and the process of growing grapes in a lot of His parables just as He did in this reading. He claims that we can be more fruitful if we remain as part of the vine. If we remain in Him, we will lead productive lives.
But how do we remain in Him?
First, we must drench ourselves in His word. Reading his word is like keeping in constant communication with Him. It’s like opening our email everyday to see if there’s something in our inbox from Him. And there will always be something in our inbox from Him – a reassurance, guidance, admonition, advice, encouragement, correction, or confirmation.
Second, we have to offer our concerns to Him. We open ourselves to His grace whenever we lift up our issues to Him. It’s like posting a news about ourselves in His Facebook wall so He gets updated about what’s going on in our lives. He knows everything but it makes a lot of difference when the information comes from our own initiative to share our lives with Him. Because He values our free will, He values what comes out of the practice of such free will.
Third, we should follow His word. We can only benefit from His Word if we allow it to make a difference in our lives. When we start to put His words into practice, it’s like adhering to the doctor’s prescription. The benefits are just as good as the degree with which we comply with the treatment regimen. An advice is only as good as the extent to which it is followed.
Lastly, to remain in Him is to walk with Him constantly with a grateful heart, never forgetting that He is ever present on our side. Whatever work we do, He is there to give guidance in decision-making and strength in trials. His promise is never empty. Things happen with His grace. Unexpected things occur when He moves because he works with utmost efficiency. One action affects multitudes of reaction. So when we remain in Him, we will lead productive lives because we will share in the power of His works.