Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "In The Sweet By And By"1 (Lyrics)

Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (KJV)

John 15:4 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (KJV)

In our family, any instrument, tool, or implement that was both small and very useful was given an extra, affectionate, diminutive "ie", resulting in names like the "smallie pliers" or the "smallie screwdriver".

Whenever I read, I am an inveterate underliner. Because my freehand is not steady enough, I used my cumbersome desk ruler to keep the lines straight. I did this until one day, I noticed that I had a foot-long strip of one-inch, thin, metal plate. I promptly took it to the workshop and cut off a six-inch length, which I cleaned and polished to be my new "smallie ruler". Next morning at my devotions, it was both neat and handy, but it kept slipping on the paper and spoiling the line. I read from a desk rostrum so my grasp on the smallie ruler had to be firm, but it still kept doing what I did not want it to do.

Very disappointed, I put it in my desk pencil tower and went back to using the old foot-long ruler.

When I began to wonder what it was that kept the old foot-long ruler from sliding, I remembered that it had a thin strip of cork on the back. My wife, a handcraft person, always has a supply of sandpaper, and from a sheet of very fine grit, I cut a strip which I glued to one side of my smallie ruler.

With no little trepidation, I tried it out on a page. The gritty sandpaper made my smallie ruler stay put, remain, hold fast, not slide away, stick to, and abide on the paper, with only slight pressure from my hand, and the line was drawn straight.

So it is with us. When our Master invites us and we come, we tend to slide. Then He asks us to abide so that there is a bond between ourselves and Him, the Vine.

What keeps us abiding in the Vine? What will stop us from sliding like the smooth, smallie ruler? Our Vine keeps us — the branches — in place, with only a slight loving pressure.

What can we do to keep abiding in the Vine? We can begin with keeping to regular morning and evening prayer and devotional periods. We can make sure we attend worship services regularly. We can keep in the Vine by letting others know at very first meeting that we are Christians who strive to be fruitful. And yes, we want to introduce them to Jesus.

By His grace, we can keep ourselves fit for His service in a myriad of fields that are white unto harvest. While we are rooted and grounded in love and the faith, the Lord Himself will direct us and make us His smallie instruments in His hands.

Prayer: Blessed Saviour, help us to look upon being in the Vine as the most blessed and joyful condition under heaven. Keep us and enable us to do what each faithful heart longs to do — abide in the true Vine. Amen.

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About the author:

Anton Stander
(deceased)

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