On one particular outing recently, my mind wandered off the path and my feet followed along. I was soon in unfamiliar territory, and happened past a heavy wooden gate (above). It was encased in a concrete frame and connected to a large barbed-wire-topped fence.
The gate was a rare sight, so I stepped closer to peek through the fence and see the precious treasure it protected.
It reminded me of a parable from Matthew 21. A man planted a vineyard, surrounded it with a wall, built a tower, and rented it out to gardeners. These supposed gardeners were charged with the care of the vines on the owner's behalf. They were unfaithful and, in the end of the parable, the owner called the gardeners to account.
There are many lessons to be learned from this passage but the thing that stands out in my mind is the care the owner lavished on his vines and the branches they produced. He protected them from outside influences. He hired workers to care for them.
In a very real way, this good owner was willing to prune the branches and to let those he hired prune them. The vines were treasured and protected, however, from those who would do them harm.
In the vineyard along the road, the young vines had been planted in straight rows, staked with posts to guide their growth, and surrounded by protective walls to keep them free from harm, just like the vineyard Jesus described.
If an earthly vine grower goes to such expense to protect his young plants, how much more will our heavenly Father expend to care for us, the tender branches shooting off from the vine of His Son?
He cares for us. He protects us. He knows us.
Ponder those words a moment and savor the truth that our Lord has a plan for our good, our welfare, our care. He's not caught off guard by our circumstances. He knows what He's doing and, in the end, it will be for our good and His glory.
"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and nor for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 nasb
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