Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "For The Beauty Of The Earth"1 (Lyrics)
A tradition my Italian grandfather brought from the old country was winemaking. Besides the delicious table fruit from his grape vines once native to the hillsides of southeastern Italy, every year he would harvest and press the grapes to produce three barrels of a fruity full-bodied dry dinner wine for the year.
In contrast, I recall one year when my father, in an attempt to replicate the taste, toiled for hours with boxes of grapes purchased from the market, only to discover after a few months that the wine had turned to vinegar.
As I reflected on his experience, I recalled a similar scenario in chapter five of Isaiah, which many entitle "The Parable of the Vineyard". Judah's prophet recounts a beautiful love story between the Father, the vinedresser, and His children Israel, the vineyard. After a laborious, endless effort to maintain and grow delicious fruit, to His dismay, the vineyard yielded wild or sour grapes:
Isaiah 5:4 – What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? (NASB)
Another prophet during Israel's exile echoed the same consternation:
Jeremiah 2:21 – I planted you in the land like a special vine of the very best stock. Why in the world have you turned into something like a wild vine that produces rotten, foul-smelling grapes? (NET)
God desires a direct correlation between His grace and our service. Although He provides abundant opportunities for growth, the proper attitudes of our hearts should be elicited in return for a delicious fruit harvest. Peter focuses on how to improve our effectiveness to His glory:
2 Peter 1:5-8 – For this very reason, you must make every effort to supplement your faith with moral character, your moral character with knowledge, your knowledge with self-control, your self-control with endurance, your endurance with godliness, your godliness with brotherly kindness, and your brotherly kindness with love. For if you possess these qualities, and if they continue to increase among you, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in attaining a full knowledge of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. (ISV)
Consequently, if we faithfully abide in the Lord Jesus — Who is the true vine — we will produce good grapes.
Will you make this commitment?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for planting us in Your vineyard. Help us to be unselfishly fruitful with a loving heart. We pray in the name of Him who loved us and gave Himself. Amen.