[This is an excerpt from Bobbie Houston’s (of Hillsong notoriety) beautiful book Stay The Path. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I loved Stay The Path, and highly recommend it, especially if you are in ministry. It is truly beautifully written. I chose this section of the book because I thought it could apply to so many of us, and was so true!]
You are a Vineyard Waiting to Happen
You are a vineyard with endless vines within your sphere.
If you are facing challenges within the “vineyard of marriage,” an ocean of good people exist who can speak into your life and give you solid biblical keys to go forward.
If you are banging your head against the wall with issues relating to teenagers or small children, there are pathways to better parenting.
If you’ve dug yourself into a financial hole, or little foxes have come in and created havoc, there is godly wisdom available on how to climb your way back – and if you are in the vineyard of ministry, feeling isolated or stuck in your responsibility toward a congregation or community of people, then take heart from one minister to another. I’m here to to tell you that there is always a way forward, and God has good people along this pathway who can help.
Again, if you are living in the free world, you have the ability to “plant or replant” yourself in to the wisdom and ways of God that yield the right fruit in our lives.
I say this because that is what God is asking (and declaring) in Isaiah:
“Can you think of anything I could have done to my vineyard that I didn’t do?”
Our gracious God has done all He can do. He gave His Son and purchased our redemption (allow that resonate; it will shoot faith-adrenaline into your soul). He gave us His Spirit, pour out to lead and teach us with those glorious “wind words” already spoken of. He gave us His timeless and infallible Word, full and overflowing with knowledge, understanding and wisdom. The Psalms and Proverbs alone are lifetime seminar, if you have a heart to seek them out. And He gave us His church. Now, I agree that not every church is perfect, yet when any local church seeks to be healthy and Christ-centered (and is doing her honest best), then God will cause that local church environment to become the family and community perfect for your journey.
You are a stunning vineyard waiting to happen.
Don’t negate these words because you feel unworthy. Don’t reduce this truth because of what your life may look like now. Condemnation and hopelessness are the work of the enemy. So resist, and believe me when I say you are capable of a vintage crop – a vintage crop of a fulfilling, fun, meaningful (and sexy) marriage; a vintage crop of kids who grow up and become fabulous human beings and citizens of planet Earth; a vintage crop of perfectly matured and executed dreams and aspirations. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (see Ps. 37:4).
Have you ever seen a vineyard at the height of splendor? Lush, green, mature, with succulent ripe grapes that when pressed bring forth the finest juice? I dare you to believe that you can be such a vine. For years I’ve wanted to do a photo shoot for my Colour girls in the vineyards of the world, simply because of the canvas it would paint.
I find the imagery of a rich rolling landscape, flouring under His care, irresistible. Regardless of what season the vine is in (summer, winter, spring, fall), there is confidence that every season has its design and purpose. And even if the vine has been spoiled in some way, don’t ever forget that God is the one who can restore what the invasive worm has stolen (see Joel 2:25). He’s the God who can turn any situation around. The Old Testament is basically a long historical account of the Father’s endless devotion and ability to turn the bleak, barren, assailed (and often even rebellious) vineyard of His people back to their potential.