I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.... My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. John 15:1-2,8
Vines are amazing plants. They are prolific, productive. They do not stay put, but grow in every direction if given the opportunity, and something to support them (the ground, a tree, a fence or building). Some of our favorite food plants are vines (tomatoes, grapes, squash, cucumbers, kiwi fruit, melons, beans, and peas).
While Jesus lifts up the vine's connectivity, and may also seek to recall its mustard-like persistence, if there is a central image in this passage it is the vine's fruitfulness.And critical to a vine's fruitfulness is its trainability. A vine will grow in any direction it is able. But Jesus' heavenly Father tends the vine, directs the vine, prunes the vine so that it may grow in ways which produce fruit. Jesus, as Son of his Father, has been trained, in prayer, by God's spirit, and in his ministry with others.
As we look to the kind of ministry Jesus call us to, how much of our lives are spent "going wild"? And how much are we letting ourselves be trained, guided, by the master gardener, God?