Abiding in the Vine and Producing Good Fruit (Fifth Week of Easter)

Jesus continued, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you,

the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever

you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how God works – when you produce grapes,

when you mature as my disciples”. (John 15: 5 – 8)

Ben was conscientious on the highway, staying alert, checking his mirrors, and signaling his lane changes. It was the other drivers who were idiots. Their aggression and thoughtlessness angered him to no end. He was not a man given to vulgarity, but when another driver did something stupid, he’d erupt in swearing and rude gestures. He’d slip into punishment mode and maneuver to counter the antics of the morons and even cut them off.

Then one day he found himself so infuriated by what some other driver did that he reached into the bag of groceries on the passenger seat and flung a can of tuna at the offending motorist. He missed but was shaken by the outburst. Later, after telling his wife what happened, she offered this suggestion: “It says in the Bible, ‘Bless those who persecute you’. Maybe you should try it on the road”.

The next day, Ben began his therapy. “God bless that idiot!” he shouted when a guy in a truck swerved out in front of him. “O Lord,” he whispered when a speeder approached on the right, “bring peace to that poor man”. And for the driver doing 60 in the fast lane he pleaded, “God, may they be protected from all harm”.

Soon he noticed a big difference. He was more at peace behind the wheel and his reactions more under control. Ben had learned about abiding in the vine and producing fruit.

When have you been “pruned” by your experiences in a way that led to greater abundance?