Growth and Branches

By Elliott, Director of Outreach

A young boy came home from school clutching a styrofoam cup, into which he had put a single seed. The following morning he jumped out of bed, took the cup down from the window sill and immediately burst into tears! Alarmed his mother asked him what was wrong?

“There’s no flower the boy wailed. My teacher said there would be a flower.” The mom explained to her son that it would take time for the seed to sprout and the flower to grow, and then he would need to water it regularly and keep the cup on the window sill so that it would get enough sunlight.

The boy did as he was told and sure enough after a few days a small sprout had pushed its way through in search of more sunlight. Soon a tiny plant was flourishing in the boy’s cup. It eventually grew so large that it had to be transplanted to a flower bed.

Like the boy with his seed, we tend to think of growth as something that should happen automatically. We seek immediate gratification. However, the farmer plants seeds and waits patiently for the harvest. Further, parents watch their children grow without ever thinking about the process of physical development. But even in these circumstances, certain conditions must be met before growth can take place. The farmer plants the seeds, spreads fertilizer, and prays for both rain and sunshine. Children grow naturally, but the measure of their growth can be affected by diet, exercise, and heredity.

The same is true in the spiritual realm. In John 15 Jesus compares himself to the vine and his people as his branches. The metaphor of the vine is used several times in the Old Testament to refer to God’s people. For example in Psalm 80, the nation of Israel is compared to a vine transplanted from Egypt. Here the Psalmist speaks of the care God gave the vine when it was transplanted and describes how the vine flourished.

Jesus takes this same metaphor and alters it slightly. According to John 15, Jesus is the vine and we are his branches. In these verses, there emphasis on the importance of producing good fruit, but Jesus also reveals the conditions that must be met before spiritual growth can take place. He teaches us that the most important prerequisite for growth is that the branch must be connected to the vine (v.2). A wonderful reminder for us that Christ alone is the source of our spiritual life and growth.

June is an exciting time of year here at TCM. We have just concluded another cycle of school year of programs, and as such we have much to be thankful for. This is also a time when we eagerly await the arrival of our summer interns and the beginning of our Sonshine Day Camp season.

We ask that you would kindly keep us in your prayers over the summer months.

  • Pray that like the little boy with his cup and seed, that we too will maintain patience as we look for growth and transformation for both our staff and those that we serve.
  • Pray that we would be constantly connected to the vine, and through this Christ would always be the source of our strength.