JOHN 15:5 (ESV) | "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
My phone wakes me to that annoying alarm sound. I am tired, jet-lagged, and feel ill-prepared for the training I am about to give in less than three hours. As I sit up in bed, I feel the wave of anxiety wash over me as I realize I have simply run out of time. By the time I shower and get ready, I will have maybe an hour to run through my notes and make those final edits to my talk before my ride comes.
I start getting ready on autopilot, and it is not until I see myself shaving in the mirror that the thought of forgoing my last minute preparations occurs to me. In all the hustle and bustle of traveling, I have not had much time with the Lord. I could get a good hour in, just me and the Lord, before starting off on what promises to be a long day.
What am I thinking?! That hour is all I will have to prepare for my talk. Even if I did try to be with the Lord, I will surely be distracted by those key changes I need to make to my slides.
And so, shaving more quickly, the internal battle begins.
Eventually, I find myself sitting on the bed, lovingly defeated by God’s Spirit in me and reluctantly prepared to spend that last precious hour with the Lord.
I cannot say that the hour was a life-changing event that morning. What I can say, though — not just for this time, but for every time I am able to give myself over to God in moments like this — is that something changed inside of me. Like a reset button getting pressed in my soul.
Although I am not always conscious of it, inevitably my perspective changes to take in a much grander view; something in me remembers the bigger picture. I am a servant of the Living God, employed to display his glory. And I am a scraggly branch on his vine that can do nothing of any real value apart from the One who loves me and everyone else I encounter in the day.
That day, my presentation went fine, even without the critical edits. During one of the breaks, a shy woman approached me and very intently thanked me for a wonderful insight I had shared in my talk. Funny thing was, I did not recall saying it.
I have no idea how God’s Spirit may have leaked out of me onto the people and situations I encountered that day, but what I do know is that had I not attended to the connection I have with the source of all things good, not much of any real value would have been accomplished at all.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION
- What of the work you did yesterday had Kingdom value? What might you need to do (or not do) today to ensure you are connected to the vine?
- What are the particular ways or postures that enable you to “abide” or stay connected to Jesus?
- When you look back on your week, what evidence have you seen of God’s overriding power manifest in your life — evidence of the vine behind the branches, things that happened beyond you or even in spite of you?
This reading is a part of our "Small Feet Big Shoes" devotional series. You can also sign up to receive these meditations by email.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alex Galloway and his wife, Amy, have been with CRM since 2003. Alex is currently serving as the the director of CRM's Staff Care and Development team. They live in Malaga, Spain with their three teenage daughters.