A migraine had me down for two days but on yesterday, while home, there was a movie on the Hallmark Channel about a wine vineyard. I forget the name but there was something said that stood out to me. It was, “The harder the struggle of the vine makes better the wine.” If you know me then you know, I jotted this down because I knew this statement is exactly what one or two of you needs to hear today. See, somebody laid down last night dreading a day that hadn’t even showed up yet. Some of you laid down and tears covered your pillow and somebody else laid down with so much on your mind that you fought with the sheets and they aren’t the ones you’re mad at. Why? Because you expected your August to erase the toil of your July and it hasn’t. Well beloved, the harder the struggle of the vine makes better the wine. What do I mean? According to what I have read on wine vines, if you make their habitat easy, the bitter the grapes because then the vines would focus more on growing leaves and shoots, not grapes. In other words, the vine is comfortable with just growing and not producing. However, if you make them struggle for the resources they need like water and nutrients and if they are pruned while being crowded with other vines; they work harder which kicks in their reproductive mechanisms. Sounds crazy, right? But it works.
Think about it. How good are you at producing when you’re comfortable? How much beneficial work do you get done when you’re comfortable? If you’re like me, if you get too comfortable with a lot of time on your hands, you just might do everything but what you need to do. Oh but when you are crunched for time, when the baby is sick and you have a project to finish, when you have a hungry family and money is scarce or when you’re in the struggle of your life; your surviving mechanisms kick in, making you work to produce what you need to survive. When this happens, you produce quality work. Crazy? This is why sometimes, beloved, you have to struggle as the vine. The harder the struggle of the vine makes better the wine. In vineyards, some growers have adapted a technique called partial root drying because normal watering of the vines was making them lazy. In restricting water, the vine pushes deeper into the subsoil to search for what they need to survive and produce. And get this, although a struggling vine produces smaller bunches of grapes; the smaller bunches is of high quality. My brother/my sister, your struggle isn’t to kill you because God knows how much you can handle, but it is to make you push deeper into the subsoil, God, in order for what you produce to be of high quality. Your struggle isn’t for suffering’s sake but it’s to get you to sink deeper into God in order to bear high quality fruit. Stop worrying about how big the harvest is, when it’s not the quantity but the quality that will reap the biggest reward. “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it (Matthew 21:43).”