Remember the Lone Ranger? He stood for right and justice in a world where it was not always found. He travelled all over, and helped those who sought out what he stood for- righteousness, fair treatment, justice, and also compassion, forgiveness and tolerance (his best friend was a Native American at a time when they were not accepted in society.)
I often think of him when I think of the Gospel verse about the man who approached Yeshua and said he wanted to follow Him. Yeshua told him that the fox has it’s hole and the bird has its nest, but the Son of Man doesn’t even have a rock upon which to lay His head. In other words, there is no rest, no place of comfort, no vacation spot for Yeshua during His time on Earth- He is to wander and expose Himself and the B’rit Chadashah (Good News) to everyone He can.
Like the Lone Ranger, Yeshua travelled around, looking for those in the dark seeking light, spreading love, compassion and tolerance (not as we mean tolerance today. Today it means allowing others to sin while you say it’s OK. Yeshua’s tolerance is the kind that lets you hate the sin but love the sinner.) And all in a world and a society sadly lacking those things. He didn’t stay in any one place for long, and although He did have places He revisited He was always on the move.
There is another thing that I think of when I think of the Lone Ranger. This may seem a little far-fetched (actually, really far-fetched) but I also think of pruning a vine. Yeah, I know- Huh?? The Lone Ranger and a vine?
Yes, the Lone Ranger and a vine. And the Bible, too! When a vine is fruitful and produces a lot of good fruit, what do you do with it? That’s right- you prune it, and replant it so that it becomes a bigger vine, producing more fruit. The Lone Ranger was a fruitful vine, producing justice and compassion, and he was transplanted every time he finished cleaning up the bad guys. Yeshua was a fruitful vine, also. Probably the most fruitful vine there ever was!
I can see it now: a desert town, the bad guys taking over and misleading the residents, teaching them traditions over the word of God, using unfair weights and tithing little but taking everyone else’s tithes for themselves. In rides Yeshua, with His trusty companion, Torah. He tells the truth, He shines light on the darkness and leads some of the people back to God. He does away with the wrong teaching by teaching what God really wants, then He leaves and goes to find more darkness. Hiyo, Righteousness…away!!!
Well, maybe not.
There is a lesson here, somewhere. I believe that lesson is if you want to be a fruitful vine, which (by the way) we should all want to be, you need to be prepared to be pruned. You will never realize the fullness of your gifts from God or the fullness of your influence on others for God if you stay in one place. That may not mean moving around geographically, so much as spiritually. We can grow in spiritual maturity and, thereby, produce more fruit without having to renew our passport. On the other hand, we may need to physically relocate, or travel. Maybe go on a trip to some Third World country to do missionary work, maybe just go down the road to help in a homeless shelter. Maybe just go to your place of worship more often to intermingle and edify those there that need help.
The fruitful vine is pruned so that it will be able to do more. Pruning is not fun- you are cut away from your roots, replanted in a new place and you need to grow new roots. You need to start all over again, and all you have going for you is the strength you took with you. You are dependant on the gardener to provide you with good soil, water and protection from the elements until you have put out strong roots. Once you have, and you produce fruit again, you will be allowed to stay there and grow. At some time, not by your choosing, the gardener will prune you, again, and it starts all over.
This doesn’t sound like fun. And, in many ways, it isn’t. When you are working for God, you can never settle into a comfort zone. At least, not for long. As long as you are producing fruit, you need to understand that you will be pruned. Maybe that’s why Yeshua said we need to pick up our own execution stake and follow Him. As long as we are with Yeshua we will be against the World, which is a cursed and unrighteous place. The good we do is the water for our soul, the light in the darkness we bring is the fruit we provide, and the word of God is the soil we are planted in, which nourishes us.
Let’s all try to be a Lone Ranger for God, a fruitful vine, a person who brings righteousness and justice to those that seek it. Also, let’s all be prepared to be pruned, and willingly go where God leads us to do His work.
It won’t be easy, but the rewards will be greater than anything you can imagine.