You Cannot Drink Grapes

"How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Enter the land
boldly, and bring back samples of the crops you see."
(It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)
Numbers 13: 20 (NLT)

Weíre the grapes...weíre the ones being picked, crushed, filtered, aged, tested and eventually poured out as a drink offering. One day we could be basking in the warm sunshine, enjoying life and all it contains, and then... everything we know of life is changed in an instant... we are picked to become a drink offering and our lives are never the same again. It may be our "season for harvesting."

But even if my life is to be poured out like a drink offering to complete the sacrifice of your faithful service (that is, if I am to die for you), I will rejoice, and I want to share my joy with all of you. And you should be happy about this and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:17-18 NLT) This is tough stuff!! This is the hardest stuff that we must face in life because this could mean our physical death, not to mention dying to ourselvesóto our desires, and we donít like that!! Come on now... canít we just remain on the vine and bask in the warmth of the sun? To remain a grape! But God, in all His wisdom says, "No, choose my Son, and experience the benefits I am producing through this." We are too quick to want a way of escape when troubles come, to long for yesterday when everything seemed easier... and yet God calls us to travel the long, long journey with Him and Trust Him with our hearts through the crushing blows that come our way.

What is our other choice--to shrivel up and die right there on the branch... our usefulness as a "grape" never coming to fruition, our purpose for being created never to be seen...to remain stagnate and eventually drop off the branch onto the ground into the dust, missing all the great things of God that continue to come out of our time of being harvested, crushed, filtered, aged and tested--until our particular "drink offering" is of greatest use for the Kingdom of God.

If we will step up to the different challenges along the way, all that we learn and grow through will be filtered little by little into different ways of being useful in the Kingdom. The bitterness that can ruin the drink offering must be filtered out. The anger at what has happened must be sifted through and brought to a point of resolution with our God. The acceptance of this path we are on and where it is leading us can start to become clearer as the filtering clarifies Godís purpose as to why we might have been picked in the first place--what gifts have we been given that can be now used to present this drink offering in a way that can best glorify God? Through the passing of time, the drink offering will have a chance to rest. At long last, a sweet aroma will emerge when the heart is opened up, revealing Godís great healing power. What pours out after years of Godís diligent work on our soul will be very different than the original grape that was picked...very, very different. The Spirit of God will be flowing through the veins of His people--every part of Who He is will be every part of who we are. The Holy Spirit flowing through us will become Godís drink offering to a thirsty world.