My garden never fails to “WOW” me with its gorgeous blooms. It also never fails to whisper a good word to me as I wander through its peaceful beauty. Today’s lesson is courtesy of my ‘clematis, and one I’d love to share with you!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 – NIV
My garden is absolutely gorgeous this year, filled to its boundaries with an astounding cascade of colors, the wealth of blooms never failing to make me smile. Still, the most amazing plant in my garden this season has been the old clematis vine that makes its home in the flower bed near my driveway. You may recall that I have written about this 50+ year old plant in earlier posts. I love everything about this plant, its beautiful blooms, its longevity, and most especially, the way it loves to cling and climb.
Nestled safely beneath the earth throughout the winter, the vine peeks out from its hiding place in early spring, sendingforth tender shoots in search of something sturdy to cling to, a place for the vine to climb. Each spring, I love watching this whimsical dance. It brings a smile to my face as the tender shoots find the trellis and start to climb.
For more than 50 years, the clematis clung to a makeshift trellis attached to an old split rail fence, but the wood eventually rotted, forcing us to tear it down. Stripped of its usual place to climb, the clematis needed a new trellis. Enter an inexpensive bit of yard art with a floral design that offered a wealth of wrought iron twists and turns . I wondered whether the elderly plant would accept my new offering. I need not have worried, for the very next morning, I had my answer. Overnight, the tiny tendrils had found the new trellis and wrapped themselves securely around the base of the structure. Each morning thereafter, the tendrils seemed to grow several inches overnight, creeping their way up the trellis. Soon, the vine had climbed the full length of the five foot structure, covering the trellis with thick green leaves and gorgeous lavender flowers. All summer long, the plant continued to grow, producing a cascade of picturesque purple blooms.
This year marks the fourth summer since the trellis change. The clematis is fully ensconced in its new home covering the grillwork with a wealth of old wood that lays the foundation for the new growth each year. The plant is amazing this year, dazzling me with purple blooms that take my breath away.
While the plant has certainly been beautiful, that’s not the amazing part. What’s truly amazing is that the plant never used to do this. For 31 years, that vine never climbed more than two or three feet. It usually produced five or six blooms in late May before withering away completely by mid-June. I have admired this little vine for so many years, but I never bore witness to such luscious greenery or long-lasting blooms until the last few summers..
So what’s different in the last few years? I can think of only two things. One, the vine has something solid to cling to, its tendrils latching onto the wealth of ornate grillwork within its reach. Two, because of the other plants in that bed, I have watered that area more frequently. With something solid to cling to and the right amount of water, the plant has flourished.
Once again, this little vine offers me another life lesson. When we cling to the right thing, we grow. When we find the right kind of water, we flourish.
Jesus reminds us that He is the Vine, and we are the branches. If we cling to Him, we will produce beautiful blossoms that yield good fruit. He offers us the right kind of water, living water that yields abundant life.
In this life, we cling to many things: people, possessions, pride, or power. We fill ourselves with food, drink or entertainment hoping to pass our days in pleasure. Yet, none of it lasts, and much of it leads to destruction.
Every day presents new challenges and new opportunities. The choices we make determine the kind of life we will lead. If we want to find the abundant life, we must learn to cling to Christ. We must seek His living water, the only water that will quench our thirst. We must let go of our incessant need to control everything around us, and refuse to worry, choosing instead to believe in God’s sovereignty and to trust in His good plan. Ultimately, we must learn to abide.
That new trellis and that old vine have been a living testimony, reminding me to cling to Christ and partake of His living water that brings new life. When I abide in Christ, He abides in me, and that, my friends, is the key to the abundant life.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
John 15:4 – ESV
O Most Gracious God, thank You for the gift of Jesus Christ, who came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. Teach us to cling to Christ, to partake of His living water. Help us to abide in Him that He might abide in us.
In the Beautiful Name of Jesus, we pray,