October 3, 2011
“The sturdy branches dried out, fit for nothing but kindling. Now it’s a stick stuck out in the desert, a bare stick in a desert of death, good for nothing but making fires, campfires in the desert.” Ezekiel 19:12-13 (The Message Bible)
Ezekiel’s message from God refers to the people of Israel as a vine in the vineyard. The people were overwhelmed by devastation and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. The grape vine was dying.
I hear people say, “I don’t need to belong to a church. I can talk to God anywhere.” They are right—they don’t need a church. They can talk to God anywhere, but a congregation of people is like a vineyard. Each individual, growing in faith, produces a branch that entwines with others to make a stronger church body. Strong churches are like the vines that go out into the community and share their fruit.
Like the people of Israel, when today’s churches lose their purpose, their vines dry up, and the doors close. All is left is the kindling.
Dear God, please help my soul from becoming kindling for a campfire in the desert. Amen