A Pause to Ponder God's Word
"Staying Connected"

My wife and I were sitting in the airport awaiting our flight. I decided to watch the people while we waited. It is amazing what you can learn simply by watching. As I watched I was struck by all the technology being used by the people to stay connected. Pay phones, pay fax machines, cellular phones, and lap top computers plugged into data ports were all being used to contact clients, offices, friends, or family. We boarded our plane to find that each seat was equipped with a computer link. Flashing across the monitor screen, located in the seat-back directly in front of us, were messages telling us how and why we should take advantage of this convenience. Right from our seat in the plane phone calls, faxes, and data links could be made with the apparatus stowed under the arm rest of our seat. What was all this saying? It says a great deal about us, our world, and our lifestyles. The foremost thing in my mind was people's need to be connected. For one reason or another, people need to be connected.

Jesus had taken the twelve away from the crowds to teach them some vitally important lessons. He knew "the hour" had arrived and there were some things that His disciples had to know before He departed. John records these important teachings in chapters 13 - 16 of his gospel. It is referred to as the "Last Supper Discourse." In Chapter 15:1-8 Jesus uses an analogy to communicate His disciples' absolute need to stay connected to Him. He tells them, "I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remain in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me he can do nothing" (v. 5). Apart from Him we can do nothing. Only as we stay connected to Him can we live fruitfully.

That scene in the airport coupled with this passage causes me to wonder about what we do to stay connected to Jesus. Doing so is far more important than landing that business deal, or keeping in touch with our best buyer, or getting that paper work to the main office, or... Yet, we do not seem to have the zeal for staying connected to Jesus as these people did for staying connected to their offices and clients. Why is that? Could it be that we are not convinced that apart from Him we can nothing? Could it be that our love for Him is waning? Could it be that we have become too busy to notice that we are living fruitless lives? Could it be that we presume upon His grace, reducing it to some sort of magic wand that makes our negligence of keeping connected to The Vine of no consequence?

Let's not rush away from this verse. Jesus said. "I am The Vine." He is the true and only Vine. Being connected to any other is to live fruitless, futile lives. He alone is the source of life and fruitfulness. "If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit." There are two people involved in this statement - the individual and Jesus. We cannot save ourselves, nor do our works save us. Nevertheless, we are participants in the saving event. When we are connected to the Vine by grace through faith, we are empowered to obey the Word and will of God and thereby remain in Him. From the Vine we draw our identity and our life sustenance. We cannot be any more fruitful detached from the Vine than a apple tree branch cut off the tree can produce apples. Therefore, keeping connected to Jesus should be the most important thing in our lives.

We don't need modern technology to keep connected with Jesus. God has given us direct access to Him through Jesus, as well as the grace and the means of grace by which we stay connected. Therefore, let us approach Him and not neglect the means of grace. As were the first disciples, so we must be "devoted to the apostle's teachings (Scripture), to the breaking of bread and fellowship (active involvement in a local church), and to prayer." (see Acts 2:42)

Keep Close to Jesus
Pastor Gerry

A Pause To Ponder God's Word is written and distributed by Gerald Whetstone, Ordained Elder and teacher in the Church of the Nazarene. These devotionals may be transmitted, duplicated, used in part or in entirety without permission for nonprofit purposes only. Responses welcome. To Subscribe Click Here.
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