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Here is Jesus’ promise: Come harvest time, the vine and the branches will both share in fullness of joy.

I have never interviewed a cow. In fact, thank God, I did not grow up anywhere near a farm. But if I was to guess as to the most joyful moment for any milking cow… I would say that it might be when the farmer stands in front of her and with great delight tastes a glass of her delicious milk.

I have never interviewed a vine either. But if I was to guess as to the moment of her greatest joy and satisfaction… I would point to the instant when someone, having pulled a bunch of her grapes, delights in their juicy taste!

But I have interviewed people who have launched out into a commitment to share their faith in Jesus with others.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus says that we, his disciples, are like branches and he is the vine. And he promises that if we remain in him, like a healthy branch well connected to a vine, we will bear much fruit. Imagine that–branches overflowing with clusters of grapes. What an image!

But that’s not all. “And my joy will be in you,” he explains, and “your joy will be made complete.”

Here is Jesus’ promise: Come harvest time, the vine and the branches will both share in fullness of joy.

Joy, the pure delight of life, the steady stream of satisfaction that we all dream of having… seems to be in short supply, doesn’t it?

A while ago, I was training a group of friends in how to share their faith. We had been trying to hear Jesus’ instructions to his disciples in Luke 10.

Everything in those instructions seems pretty bleak. Jesus tells them:

  • They should see their mission as sheep hanging out with wolves. Huh?
  • They are to go without enough supplies for their travels. Ouch!
  • What’s more, from the very beginning he assures them that in many places people would reject them. What?

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