Last week it was so nice outside that I went outside to play with my girls. After running around with them for awhile and watching them ride on their bikes and trikes, I saw something that caught my attention. One of the small trees in our front yard was beginning to grow little buds on its branches. I called over to my oldest girl Emie and hoisted her up so she could see what had caught my eye. I told her that it was almost spring because the branches were beginning to grow little buds that would soon grow into leaves. Emie looked at the little buds and touched one. I explained to her that these little buds grew as the sun shone down and the rain came down and the roots soaked up the water and then spread it all the way up to the highest branches. I told her that God is the one who causes all this to happen. Then, all of a sudden, she decided to grab one of the buds in her hand and then throw it down on the ground. She told me, "Daddy, now the bud is on the ground so it can grow better." I said to her, "Emie, now that bud won't grow. Do you know why?" She looked at me with confusion on her face and I said, "It won't grow because it's not connected to the tree. The only way these buds will grow is if they stay connected to the tree because that's where they can live and grow. On their own, they will die." I realized that God gave me a teachable moment so I simply told her that Jesus once talked about this in the Bible. He told us that the only way we can live and grow spiritually is if we are connected to Jesus. And the way we are connected to Jesus is by believing in Him and trusting in His love and in His Word.
It didn't take long for Emie to say, "Daddy, can we go ride bikes now?" But nevertheless, God gave me a little picture to share with my daughter and to help me remember the importance of abiding in Christ. As spring begins I pray that you and I would remember these words from Jesus and apply them. John 15:5 says, "I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."