Vineyard Days has been mulling around inside almost since I began writing Desert Days two years ago.
Though I was experiencing a ‘parched field’ season back then, there was a growing assurance through faith that I had not traveled thus far in my life to remain living in desert-like conditions. If my desert was to become a fruitful vineyard, I could not stay as I was. Even that which had already been transformed in me by the Spirit of God was proof that there was yet more to be internalized in this deepening relationship with Him.
This is the way of those who desire to be counted among the bride of Christ. They are parched fields who have come to realize, whether suddenly or by slow awakening, that eternity has been planted in their heart and there is nothing greater than coming to know Christ as their Heavenly Bridegroom.
There is also nothing harder. To become a branch that abides means there must be a willingness to yield up one’s life and identity to the Vine.
Is this even possible? Lose one’s sense of independence and individuality yet be truly found? Reach that place in one’s spiritual growth of self-abandonment and unflinching adherence to Love? And find joy, satisfaction and fulfillment in doing so?
Yes. But it is costly because it is so valuable. The price paid is “I” will for “Thy” will. The reward is oneness with Christ and fitness within His Body in the midst of a fruitful vineyard.
More than just a parable, this is the Love Story of the ages: the desire of Jesus that we become one with Him (John 17:21). He is a Bridegroom intent on seeking out His Bride; one who will have no spot or wrinkle or any such thing that mars her devotion to and union with Him.
Both male and female make up this company of believers who have turned aside from the world’s ways and allurement, and have chosen to be drawn after this One whom their soul has come to love.
So what is it about a vineyard that speaks to such longings of both the Bridegroom and the Bride?
Perhaps it will help to know that a vineyard is an area of land, often enclosed, which is set aside and equipped for the cultivation of vines.
Once matured, those vines are to produce grapes that are used to provide a constant and sustainable supply of wine…*
“Constant and sustainable supply of wine” – a deeper, richer, fuller expression of a wellspring of life.
Parched fields need life-giving water to be able to produce the crops planted as seed. So too a vineyard requires much care and tending to arrive at the production stage of fine wine. In the case of our fruitfulness, eternity planted in our heart must be nurtured and developed. It is our spiritual harvest. (Mark 4, Matthew 13) It is our vineyard.
The water and the wine. The desert and the vineyard. The seed and the bountiful harvest. One leads to the other and so goes the process of spiritual development.
Many of the things waiting in my heart to be shared were planted in me in seed form since childhood and especially so over the past 25 years. A lot of growing seasons have been necessary; a lot of cycles through dry summers, chilly autumns, lifeless winters, and birthing springs.
However, it was not until this ‘wine’ had begun to age sufficiently within that the Lord released me to start recording this series. Reaching the point of delivery has been met with resistance and interference, distraction and equipment failures.
I think that describes, too, the way of the Shulamite, the Beloved in Solomon’s Song of Songs…
She had a vineyard, but had been so busy tending others’ vineyards that she had neglected hers. The fact that she recognized its condition was not so much an indictment against her as it was her acknowledgement of spiritual barrenness and hunger. She was a parched field.
There is much we can learn from her journey, for her story reveals the progressive work of God in the lives of those who have entered the process of becoming His Bride.
If your heart hungers for more; indeed, if you are still reading this…
Welcome to Vineyard Days.
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at www.shammahsfield.com.