Remain In Me
9/26/2013 by BY MARK MUNSON
We recently had the trees trimmed around our house, and for good reason. Every time a storm blew through, it left tree limbs, sticks, and branches sprawled out all over our yard, sometimes even in my neighbor?s yard. One particularly large branch had been hanging precariously from a vee in?a branch of the oak tree that spreads itself out over the sidewalk leading to our front door. How in the world?that dangling branch?hung there for so long is a mystery to me. Surely the rains that came and the winds that blew, rocking it in its cradle, could have?caused?that branch?to fall. And?once it did, it would have taken out a few bulbs from our antique lamp post along with it.?Fortunately, it never fell on someone or upon some unfortunate critter. If it had, well, the knots upon the head would be quite telling and somewhat painful.
?? I asked the tree surgeon why the branches?had been falling so much. I mean, after all, these trees?are old and we had been experiencing a summer drought. But that wasn?t the reason. ?The reason,? he told me, ?was because of ants.? ?Ants?? I asked. ?That?s right,? he said. Then?he went on to tell me that ?this area of the state has a bad ant problem. It?s not a problem in East Texas, but it is here.? I just kind of figured that it was because I hadn?t watered them so much. To look at my yard, you could have put a herd of cattle, or better yet, goats in my yard, to eat all the ?hay? I had been growing, called ?grass? by most folk. But when he cut down a smaller tree that had pretty much rotted?out, I could see what he was talking about. He cut it down practically to the ground, and right there, in the heart of the tree, where the sap should have been running, was a hole as big as a quarter that had been eaten away by the tiniest ants I have ever seen! I?ll bet their eggs can only be seen?through a microscope. But sure enough, there they were, running all over the place. It was reason enough to see why that?tree had died.?
?? I asked him was there some way to stop those ants from destroying the trees? Was there something that could be painted on the trunks that would keep them from doing their damage, and he said I would have to?paint all the way up to the branches to make any difference. That explained the reason for the woodpeckers in my trees and the tapping that went on as they searched for?food. They were eating these dad-gummed ants!
?? Jesus said in?John 15:5, ?I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me, you can do?nothing.? No wonder those branches were dead and dried out! They could no longer stay strategically attached to the vine. Their flow of sap had been cut off! Instead of soft tissue supplying the nutrients the branches needed, there was only an empty hole, and nothing but ants scurrying from branch to tree, eating their way to the main supply-line. So, the branches, minus their life-line, could do nothing but fall off. And now,?they lie in my trailer, ready to be hauled off to the burn pile.
?? It?s the same with us, isn?t it? If we don?t remain attached to the main vine, that is, to our life-line, Jesus Christ, then we too will wither away and fall off from the source of?our power and be good for nothing but to be tossed into the?burn pile. Now, I don?t believe once saved, we can be lost, but I do know that if I don?t spend time with my Lord and Savior in prayer, in personal Bible reading and study, in worship, and in service, I, too, will dry up and wither away, spiritually. And you know what? I?ll bet you will too!
???So what does Jesus tell us to do? He tells us to keep ourselves rooted and grounded in Him, because apart from Him, no Bible reading, no prayer time, no time for worship or service, we too, will dry up spiritually, and fall off from our life-line, from all the love, joy, peace, patience, the fruits of the Spirit, that only Jesus can supply. And apart from?Him, life looses its meaning. It looses its purpose and direction. What, then, can we do? As the song says, ?Come On Home?. Ask His forgiveness for falling away, and once more plug back into the Vine-line that gives life. I guarantee, you?ll be glad that you did.