how to produce your best stuff


a few days ago, i wrote about 3 observations i made about the "great work" God has for each of us. these observations were one of two great massive takeaways i had while on a personal retreat last december. today's post records the second main takeaway from my time away.

i never knew this, but apparently, the sap in a grapevine is what makes the grapes ripe and sweet. and the sap will find its way into all the part of the grapevine; not just the grapes, but also the leaves and branches and dead stuff on the plant.

and this poses a problem.

the sap is the good stuff. and the good stuff can be wasted on things that bear no fruit. if the sap goes to a leaf, it's not going to the grapes. in a sense, it's being wasted on that which is not fruitful. this is why vinedressers will cut away seemingly healthy parts of the grapevine, along with the dead parts; they want the good stuff to not be wasted on the fruitless and instead be re-directed to making the grapes their best.

i realized that my life is very full of good things. and those things require my good stuff. the problem is that my good stuff gets spread out so thin that my life does not bear the best fruit that it should. by trimming away not only the dead stuff, but also the good stuff, my resources can be used to produce my best stuff.

this is hard. it seems counter-intuitive, but the reality is that we all have limited resources. this is not a matter of how you spend your "sap," but how you invest it.

a few thoughts:

  • to determine where to invest your resources, we must determine our great work.
  • we must relentlessly trim away good things to bear the best fruit. Jesus says that a vine bearing fruit is pruned so that it bears even more fruit. it might be a little painful, but the end result is sweeter.
  • i believe it's in our nature to bear fruit. a grapevine knows it's supposed to grow grapes. the vinedresser simply encourages it by creating an incredible environment in which to grow the best grapes. in the same, we are designed to bear fruit. we simply need to create the best environment to produce the best stuff.

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