“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5

The question for today and this weekend is a simple one.  What is it that you really need?  I am thinking that the answer from the world that we live in would be “More”.  More choices at meal time, more channels on the TV, more bars on the cell phone, more clothes in our closet, more hours of relaxation and less work…and just ‘more’ of all the good stuff and less of the unwanted burdens.  My living conditions today are nothing like they were 14 years ago when I left my apartment in Haiti and moved back to the U.S.  In my apartment in Haiti I had a closet the width of a door and it had one steel rod and one shelf and there was ample room.  Today, I have a walk in closet and enough shirts that I really do have to stop and think about what I am going to wear today.  While living there, I didn’t need “more’ as I had more than many in that country as I had been welcomed into their homes and they proudly showed me their families possessions neatly folded and placed in the same dresser.  Sometimes it seems like we are in competition with this world to see who has ‘more’.  You win, you alone have ‘more’ stuff than this child and her family who are from Chincheron, Haiti.  She holds in her hand what is truly more important than the contents of our dwelling and our bank accounts.  She hold the Bible that holds the most precious ‘More’ that this world really needs; Jesus.  Check your closet today.  Look in the basement and the garage and take an inventory of all the ‘more’ stuff that for one brief moment brought you joy in this world and then consider the forever Joy that can only come from living with Jesus.  There is never enough ‘more’ of this world to bring us true contentment; only Jesus can give us that.  I am closing today with the words from the hymn ‘I need Thee every hour’ that were written by Annie Hawks in 1872 as she was busy with household tasks in her home.  She was thinking about how near the Savior was to her and how impossible it would be to live without the Master, whether in joy or pain.

“I need thee every hour most gracious Lord, no tender voice like Thine can peace afford.  I need thee, oh I need Thee every hour I need Thee; oh bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.  I need thee every hour, stay close and nearby temptations be their power when You are close by.  I need Thee, oh I need Thee, every hour I need Thee; oh bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.  I need Thee, oh I need Thee, every hour I need Thee; oh bless me now my Savior, I come to Thee.”

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

May God be with you…Jay