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Wit and Wisdom of Gateway Church Athens GA

As we begin our new church life … so too a new blog!

Rom 11:24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and against nature grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much easier will it be to graft these natural [branches] back on [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree.

In yesterday’s class, we talked about John 15:1-8.  As I began to think about that, I was drawn to Paul’s comments in Romans 11 when speaking of the grafting in process.  I think there is much gold to be mined in this subject.  I went back and read the verses in Romans just to put a framework on my thoughts.  Paul was speaking of gentiles being “grafted in” to the Jewish nation as a wild olive shoot.  The point is that God took a wild olive and grafted it into a cultivated plant to produce fruit.

When I look at the two passages and compare them I notice something striking.  It seems Paul is talking about the process of conversion while Jesus is assuming conversion has already taken place.  Jesus speaks of the plant processes AFTER the grafting in has taken place.  He speaks of producing fruit.

Paul on the other hand is speaking of the process of grafting in of a wild olive.  This is the conversion process.  Without the grafting there would be no possibility of producing fruit.

I have a background and training in growing things.  I understand fertilization and how plants grow.  I’m from Indiana and I understand corn.  I grew up surrounded by corn fields (although I did live in a house … I don’t want you to think I grew up in a field!).  As Gene rightly points out, there is a lot of work in farming corn.  But Jesus addresses an important point about this:

Mark 4:26 – 29 And He said, The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground, And then continues sleeping and rising night and day while the seed sprouts and grows {and} increases–he knows not how. The earth produces [acting] by itself–first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe {and} permits, immediately he sends forth [the reapers] {and} puts in the sickle, because the harvest stands ready.

The farmer plants and harvests, but God gives the growth.  The growth happens based on God’s time table not because of anything we do.  You don’t’ have to do anything to corn for it to grow. 

This is not so with the vine.  It has to be attended to be fruitful.  Jesus points out that without Him, you can do nothing!  The fruit God wants you to bear is not something you can gin up with your own efforts.  This growth requires effort by the master of the vineyard.

As I think of this I am reminded of Peggy Jo and here recent testimony.  God has been working her vine, pruning and dressing it and helping her to produce fruit.  I know in my life, I’m experiencing some of the same things.  All of us are.  Close your eyes and think back to the last year in our class.  You can see the hand of the master gardener in all of our lives.

Lord: The process of pruning and cultivation of my vine is difficult.  I don’t like it at times.  Then there are times I don’t see any value in the work that has been done.  I don’t see grapes.  I think I should see grapes all the time, but I don’t.  I know you see my life differently than I do.  You know the beginning and the end.  Help me to relax and know that you know what you’re doing and according to Phil 1:6, you will complete the process!


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