There’s No Place Like Home
She was AWOL. A five-year old wandering the streets of Chicago all by herself. Dragging her worldly possessions behind her, with no destination in mind, this little girl was running away. My cousin was too young to realize the dangers lurking outside her place of safety. No amount of scolding or warning would have made a difference. She was oblivious to fear, but I’ll never forget how afraid we were as her sister and I accompanied my dad on the search. We drove down all the familiar streets of our neighborhood, frantic for her life. Hoping and praying we would find her before dark. Her mom walked the streets calling her name. It seemed like forever before we spotted the blond, blue-eyed beauty. She looked determined to get as far away from home as possible and didn’t notice our car approaching. Dad couldn’t get out fast enough to retrieve her. Sweet relief!
My aunt and her four children lived a short distance away. Her husband had passed away when my little cousin was six months old, so our families remained close. Their two girls were like sisters to me. The three of us did everything together, even though we often tried to ditch the younger. (I still feel guilty!)
Running away from home is nothing new. Children and adolescents, upset with parental rules and regulations, think there’s a better place out there. Thankfully, our family’s story had a happy ending. Yet, as I reflected on these memories of the past, I thought about how often we run away from our spiritual home. That Secret Place where we’re welcomed to dwell with Jesus. Under His wings is where we find security, protection, provision and unconditional love. Running away doesn’t make things better. Running home is the answer. Jesus advises us to stay close, attached likes branches to the Vine. It really is true…there’s no place like Home.
Scripture reading: John 15:1-5
I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
1. From the imagery of this passage, who are the vine, the gardener and the branches?
2. What must the gardener do to increase fruitfulness? What might this look like in our lives?
3. What else is necessary for fruitfulness? What can the branches do apart from the vine?
4. What do you think bearing fruit refers to?
5. What are some steps you can intentionally take to remain in Christ?
Do we understand what it means to merely “remain”? These scriptures have taught us that godly character and virtues are produced only from our union and fellowship with Jesus. Just as branches hang on to the Vine, so we need to hang on every Word of the Lord. Let’s take a firm grip of Truth. The branch is destined to become fruitful when attached to the Vine. No more running away!