When I was in 8th grade I was given the opportunity to take a day off from school to explore a job that interested me. I knew exactly what I wanted to explore - the career of journalism. I jumped at the chance to go to an actual newspaper and spend the day with a “real” journalist. My Dad knew a writer at the Bucks County Courier Times and she graciously allowed me to shadow her for a day. I was enthralled from the moment I walked into the newspaper building. As the day unfolded, I became even more enchanted with the possibility of a career in journalism. There was just something about it that captivated me and it became my dream to research, interview and report the news.
As I look back on the last 32 years from 8th grade and now, I realize that God had other plans for me and the dream of becoming a professional journalist did not materialize. Yet, what I realized this past week was that my innate desire to research, interview and report still flows strongly through my veins. This insight came to me as I drove home from a trip to a local vineyard. I had gone there in order to better understand Jesus’ teaching in John 15.
“I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser.”
“I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Jesus is likely referring to a grapevine in this chapter. I know very little about grapevines so I began researching vineyards on-line and planned to visit one. It was a little adventure for me. Although I was unable to contact the vineyard owner ahead of time, I decided I’d make the trip even if it meant only getting a photo of the estate and grapevines. I was pleasantly surprised when upon arrival I was greeted by the owner. He spent over 35 minutes answering all my questions and giving me details I could not gain through my research on-line. I cannot wait to share with you what I learned this Thursday!
As I drove home quite pleased with the outcome of my visit, God reminded me of Philippians 1:6 which says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” This means that until Jesus either calls me home or He returns, my story is not over (and neither is yours). I have often regretted having not pursued journalism and yet God reminded me that I am doing the work of a journalist for His glory. It is not how I initially I envisioned it; it is far better than I could have dreamed.
You see, God (the vinedresser) created me (His branch) to bear much fruit. The desire to research, interview and report is a gift the Lord has given me for His purposes. When I allow God to use the gifts He has given me, He brings forth fruit and I experience joy. I was truly filled with joy while I was driving home because I was doing what the “journalist” in me was created to do. I was putting together a story. Not a story about about a local current event but rather, something so much better, a story about my Savior. That filled my heart to overflowing with joy. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of John 15, I also had the great privilege of sharing my faith with the owner of the vineyard.
When I see God orchestrating the circumstances in my life in ways like this, I am so encouraged. They remind me of the personal nature of God and how much He loves me. Grapevines need year round attention and care by the vinedresser in order to produce good fruit. God most certainly gives year round attention to us. He desires that we use our abilities and talents for His glory.
May the Lord remind you this week of His attentiveness toward you and that your story is not finished yet. He desires that “you bear much fruit” (John 15:8) “and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).