Cathy and I spent two months at the Amathunzi Game Reserve outside Robertson, South Africa. It was a time of focus for us that yielded something we didn’t expect.
Encircling the game farm were dozens of Afrikaans farmers with fields of grapes. It was isolating and we found ourselves asking God, why here?
It seemed so remote and away from people. Cathy loved the quiet and the solitary time with God the Father. I was accustomed to more activity and relationships. I would look around at the beautiful mountains and endless fields of vineyards and certainly see the beauty.
What we didn’t understand was the privilege we were given to meet and learn about vineyards. I had never been around wine farmers and had no clue what their life was like. One of the farmers visited us at the farm and over lunch I began to ask him questions.
I was amazed as he described the cutting of branches and pruning required for the healthy growth and production of the vines. He cupped his hand and described the weeping branch cut from the vine. He described it like the human body. The veins drip as you lift it away. We call it the weeping vine. I myself was fascinated with the every description of vineyard care as fresh pictures were injecting into my Biblical thinking.
Jesus walked from the upper room on the night of the last supper with his final eleven disciples. They walked by the Temple on their way to the garden of Gethsemane. Possibly, Jesus stopped and pointed to the decorations on the Temple and said, I am the true vine. Josephus tells us of the decorations on the outside of the Temple built by Herod the Great. Israel was the vine and the decorations were golden vines with clusters the size of a man. It was a stunning sight.
As the farmer talked new pictures came into my mind about that evening. Jesus was clearly showing that he is the true vine for the future. If we abide in him then we will produce fruit, more fruit or much fruit.
But if we do not remain in Him we will become useless like a branch that has been pruned from the vine. They burn those branches because they are not useful like wood from a tree. They can’t even make a peg to hang something.
If you remain then your fruit will be evident to others. If the vine-dresser cleans your branch then it will multiply the fruit for the future.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
Deeper Still Missions
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.