January 4, 2016

Week Two Devotions Written by Rich Mussler

Isaiah 5:1-17

Did you notice? The vineyard owner did his level best to assure the grapes would be sweet and juicy. He chose a fertile hillside, cleared the stones, and planted the best grapevines. He even built a watchtower to assure no predators could raid the field at night. Despite these efforts, the fruit from the vineyard was bad.

Most of us can relate to the idea of putting great effort into something only to have it fail. It is disappointing to invest years into achieving a dream, building a nest egg, or nurturing a relationship only to have it fall apart in the end. We tend to blame ourselves. We look inward, asking, “Did I do my best? Could I have done things differently?”

Of course, it is a good idea to make corrections when called for. Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:20). If it’s your fault the fruit is bad, by all means, repent and change direction.

But the vineyard owner did all that was in his power to assure the fruit was good. Still, the grapes were sour.

Sometimes despite your best efforts, things go sour in life. The nurtured relationship is broken. You invested wisely but lose money. You studied hard, prepared and readied yourself—but the career you hoped for doesn’t materialize.

When the grapes are sour regardless of your best efforts, it may be time to do what the vineyard owner did. He observed the bad fruit and walked away to start afresh.