We have a rule among the neighbors on our street: “If you receive a plate of food – don’t send it back empty!” For ten years we have been blessed to live among “family” who know our house codes and our children’s middle names. It is by no accident we all arrived on this very street with these very neighbors. God had it orchestrated so long ago as He knew what we would need, when we would need it, and how it would all play out. He gave us more than what we knew we would need. We are connected with each other and loving it! And because of that, providing an egg or cup of sugar to one another, helping with childcare, listening to a hectic work day, or praying through a devastating illness require no effort for any of us. Giving our time, energy, and resources are completely natural and expected.
And so it should be between us and our Father. Luke 12:48 tells us plainly, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” When we signed on as Christians and proclaimed Him Lord of our Lives, did we see the part where it stated “in everything and anything” ? If asked, I’m certain we all believe God loves us and will provide for us. But the relationship goes two ways: giving and receiving. We have so perfected our Prayers of Requests, but how about our Actions of Obedience? I bet some of us are pretty rusty. The world has overwhelmed us with daily duties and requirements to stay ahead of ourselves, and often we are so focused inwardly that we fail to see the needs of others which our Father brings to us. We grab our time, our money, and our family – keeping everything close to us and praying those provisions will sustain us.
Have you noticed our “From the Vine” verse? It has always been one of my favorites and is so dear to me. “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you abide in Me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing.” When you consider a plant’s vine and branches, you will realize that a branch is simply an extension of the vine, wearing its leaves and fruit to attract and entice. But the branch does not make the fruit; that is the vine’s responsibility. We, as the branches, are to simply stay connected firmly to the Vine (the Lord) and He will use us for His glory. Through time, we will unveil our Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), presenting ourselves as witnesses for Him. Whether we are selected or rejected by others is not our worry. And what becomes of the fruit we receive and offer is not our worry. Our job is to just “abide in Him” – be connected and eager to assist in His plan. When we submit and offer ourselves as a “pleasing sacrifice” (Rom 12:1), He will bless us and use us in ways beyond our understanding or belief… even taking us out of our comfort zones. Walking with Him will become easy and natural. Giving to others with our time and resources will become instinct. I truly believe one of the best parts of being a Christian is the joy of the anticipation in how He will use me!
So you have wholeheartedly agreed for Him to be Lord of your life. Now pray to be stretched and used in any way He needs you, always giving glory and honor to Him. Commit to abide in the Vine, accept His provisions, and pour your blessings onto others around you. The holidays appear to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but in reality it is often devastating and depressing for a lot. Take what you are thankful for and share it with others – for God has commanded (not suggested) this of you. He has given you a plate full of blessings. Do not send it out empty!
Abiding and drawing nearer every day,
Thank you for grafting me into your Living Vine – Jesus Christ, my Lord. With your help, and through your grace, I will abide in You alone. Thank you for choosing me to bear lasting fruit! I ask that You would bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in my life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. Let these things be evident to all those around me, and let it bring glory to You. I know the things I ask for in prayer, Father, will be accomplished as I abide in Christ. Help me to also abide in Your Word, and help it to dwell richly within me. Help me not to be conformed to this world, but help me to have my mind transformed as I spend time in Your Word. (Rom 12:1-2)
In Jesus’ name,
From the Vine Ministries is established in Houston, Texas and gives Cyndy the opportunity to reach ladies all across the nation with a message of HOPE. As a wife, mom, and mentor, her utmost desire is to be an ordinary woman used in extraordinary ways for Him alone! Visit FromTheVineMinistries.com for contact information and study material.