by Pastor Tim White
Have you ever seen a farmer who is launching his first vineyard? It is an exciting endeavor. All over Eastern Washington, where I grew up, there are beautiful wine and grape juice vineyards being pioneered. And this has been going on for 40 years. I remember performing a wedding at a vineyard which, at that time, was one of the largest wine vineyards in Eastern Washington. It was for the daughter of the entrepreneur farmer who was launching this endeavor - and it was beautiful! That was long before I moved to start Washington Cathedral and since that time Yakima through Walla Walla has become a new wine country. And these great vineyards have been a blessing for our whole state!
As you know the ancient world was completely dependent on the wine and olive oil business. Wine because it was one of the few safe liquids to drink. And olive oil because later she would become “Popeye the sailor man’s” girlfriend. (That is a joke in case you didn’t catch it or don’t know who Popeye the sailor man was). In the hundreds of hours, I spent studying ancient history I can’t tell you the percentage of time we spent studying pottery which was the main storage utensil used to transport these two necessary items. At one time, I could distinguish with some degree of accuracy, Late Bronze Age Greek pottery from Middle Bronze Age Egyptian pottery.
Jesus used the language of wine and vineyards to describe his secret plan to change the world by showing a love that people could not resist and aiming it at having an exponential impact. In other words, instead of adding by addition, it is growing by multiplication. Each vine attached and pruned is set to duplicate itself and to grow a great fruit-bearing vineyard.
I love our Tiny Little Church which meets in Snohomish (just off Highway 9) at 7:00 Tuesday night. The friends in the group are some of the most caring, down-to-earth people that you would find anywhere. And we have fun together. In the last two weeks we have had a new person visit our group each week. What if someday those people become so fruitful that they themselves start a Tiny Little Church which has a world-changing Good Samaritan project in our community. What if they help the people they know to find their faith and gifts and some of those people go on to start new vineyards. That is exponential growth for a church that is not dependent on buildings, property or any other change in the wind.
This Sunday I am going to be sharing the Agape words used in John 15. I know we referred to this passage when we first started studying Agape in Matthew, but we never really dove into it the way we will this week. And the goal is to teach you to build a prosperous vineyard in your life with your neighbors, spouse, children, grandchildren, employees, employers and friends. It is Jesus’ secret plan to change the world. And I will be so blessed if you join us this week for this very inspirational event. In fact, I can say that God will be blessed by future world-changers taking time to huddle together and getting inspired about building vineyards.
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White