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Some Things I Learned at the Vineyard

by Anita Miles

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Matthew 7:11

This week has been eventful…with the hurricane threatening our coast and such. With the chaos rearing its head, I decided that a trip to Alabama to spend some time with my family would be a good idea!

This morning, my dad and I got up early and visited a friend close by who grows muscadines/scuppernongs. Both are on my list of favorite things - so since we had the time, our friend let us pick all we wanted from his vines. He gave us instructions on where in the vines that we would find the best crop and told us to take all that we could get! I was armed with gloves, clippers, buckets, and bags. There was just one last warning from him as we headed down the middle of two long trellises bursting at the seams with these tasty grapes…That warning was - “be VERY careful! There are a whole lot of bees in there! Watch out for them when you’re grabbing for the muscadines!” And let me tell you...he was not even kidding!

I felt a little piece of dread rise up in me at the mention of bees!...but I wanted those muscadines pretty bad, so I decided it was worth the risk. We got about halfway down the row, and I bent over and got underneath the vines. There were just bundles and bundles of these treasures just waiting to be plucked off. I could see the bees, and I could hear them, but by this time, the fruit was calling my name, so they were easier to ignore!

At one point, my dad and I were so amazed at how well these vines had produced; I told him that I felt like I had walked a little way into the Promised Land! Remember that moment that Moses had sent his 12 spies to check out Canaan? Two of them picked a cluster of grapes so large, along with figs and pomegranates, that it took two men to carry them out on their staff!! With the load we carried out of that vineyard, we probably weren’t the only ones who thought that we had visited the Promised Land. It took all of about 15 minutes to pluck off around 7 gallons of the best muscadines ever!! Some of them the size of golf balls! Crazy!!

Since I’ve walked out of the vineyard this morning and swatted at the last bee who was tempted to take a swipe at my ear, I’ve been contemplating how often we live here!!!

The children of Israel experienced it - they saw the treasures that God promised them in their quick survey - and because ten men were afraid of what it would cost to walk into those promises, an entire nation murmured against God and died before they ever got to experience them! I can’t imagine the frustration that Joshua and Caleb must have experienced - believing that the promises of God were for them, but the masses couldn’t see beyond their own fears! All they could think about was the giants in the land who must be overtaken before they could obtain the promises!

How many times have we experienced it in our own lives?

We read the scriptures, and we claim we are holding onto the numerous promises of God, and then all it takes is one naysayer to influence our faith walk!

We get a little bit of courage to take a step out on the sea like Peter did and then one little glimpse of the waves that toss around us start to sink us all over again!!

Oh for the faith that Caleb and Joshua had! Forty years of - “I caught a vision of the promise, and I’m not losing it! I’m trusting in God’s timing and in His provision. I believe that what I have seen with my eyes or in my heart, I will hold in my hands!!”

I truly believe that God is the ultimate dream giver! I believe He gives us dreams in our hearts, and I believe He also allows our dreams to be fulfilled if we seek Him and His kingdom first!

That being said, Satan loves to unleash his swarms of bees into our vineyard of promises! He will make us so fearful that we get to the point that we doubt that God even has a plan for our mere existence, much less have a plan for us to be useful for His kingdom! And the thoughts that God would want to bestow extra blessings in our lives is just out of the question!

I want you to hear me loud and clear! If you are questioning that God cares if you wonder if God has a plan, or you are delayed in seeing a promise that God has given you -

DO NOT allow Satan’s lies to be the voice of influence in your ears!!

Take a journey back through the Scriptures and remind yourself that you belong to God! Anything contradictory to the promises of God is the bees that Satan has unleashed in your vineyard to keep you from obtaining the blessings! Take your eyes off of the giants in your life and get them fixed on the Author and the Finisher of your faith!!

The truth is, God delights in His children! Christ asked the question himself, “if you love to give good gifts to your own children, HOW MUCH MORE the Heavenly Father wants to do for you!!” I didn’t make this stuff up! I’m in no wise a prosperity teacher with outlandish expectations, but I’m tired of seeing God’s children walk around - constantly feeling defeated and living below their privileges through Christ!

Will you trust God’s promises enough that you’re willing to put up with some irritating frustrations that try to hinder your view of God’s goodness?

Help us, Father, that we are not discouraged or sidetracked by fear! It is a ploy of the enemy to keep our eyes from seeing You and your goodness in our lives! Thank you for your promises! May we hold them closely - as our very lives depend on them!

And by the way, we walked out of that vineyard today with 7 gallons of grapes and not one bee sting! Ain’t God GOOD!!

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