“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine-grower” in John 15:1-8. With these abrupt words John introduces another symbol for our understanding of Christ and Christian disciples. The allegory reveals Christ as the vine, and believers as the fruit bearing branches that are cut away and burned by the judgment of God (vine grower).

Every day is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you going to do with it? What are you doing today for tomorrow? What are you going to do with it? What are you doing today for tomorrow? What are you going to do today that will make you happy for the rest of your life? The formula for the good life is incredibly simple holiness = happiness. Jesus explained, “Remain in me, I will remain in you . . . I am the vine, you are the branches. If a person remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit: apart from me, you can do nothing” (vv.4-5). The degree of happiness in a person’s life is directly related to the degree of holiness in a person’s life. As branches, our life and energy are likened to our connection to the vine, or God.

A man with a debilitating alcohol problem went to his doctor for help. The doctor said, “Now sit down and let me show you something.” The doctor proceeded to fill one glass with whiskey and another glass with water. He put a worm into each glass. The worm in the whiskey quickly keeled over and died, while the worm in the water seemed to be getting along quite well. The doctor asked his struggling patient. “What does that tell you?” The patient waited to think over the question, then he said “Well, I guess it means I won’t get worms if I drink whiskey.” What do think the doctor’s reaction was?

Some folks just don’t see Jesus as the answer to all of their questions. They don’t see Jesus as the way to the good life. Some folks, as Jesus said, just don’t have eyes that see or ears that hear, as revealed in Mark 8:18. What does it take to get some people’s attention?

We can’t do too much about the spiritually deaf and blind. They require God’s intervention. But as the parable of the sower reminds us in Mark 13:1-23, we will have the privilege and responsibility to work with our Lord and Savior for the salvation of the world. We can point to the good life.

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J.B. Morris leads the St. Andrews United Methodist Church.