"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 15:5).
"Daddy, I'm trying to play the Xbox, but the other game system sound is coming through the TV, but there's no picture to either one of them," my son could be heard saying as he was lost in a web of tangled cords between an old box television set and the wall. "Check the connection," I said, to which he quickly replied that he had many times. I looked back and quickly discovered that the RGB cables for the 'wrong' system were plugged in, thus giving it sound, as it was also plugged in and turned on. That's a whole other issue we're working on in our house! But the problem was that the Xbox wasn't plugged into the wall or to the TV. We plugged into the wall and inserted the HDMI into the back of the oversized antique of a television and the Madden football tournament commenced once again.
Being plugged into the right sources is essential. The outlets give access to the power source and the right receptors, in this instance a TV, represent the results we're hoping to see. Jesus spoke to His core group of followers, men who had given the last few years of their lives to listen and to learn. They had to unplug from their own successes, their own ways of doing things, and from their own leadership so that they could be discipled into the life-changing, world-altering leaders God had purposed them to be. Jesus knew that if they plugged into the source of their own way of thinking, they would short circuit, because they would be overtaxing a source that was never created to give the output that they need.
"I am the vine, you are the branches..." was not His way of demeaning them, devaluing them, or overlooking their potential. It was His way of helping them to see the best way that their value and potential could be discovered, harnessed, and released with the most effectiveness. "Apart from me you can do nothing." Jesus was speaking in terms of sustainable effectiveness and eternal significance. On their own, they would be able to accomplish much, but nothing that would long outlast the moments of their efforts.
God's intention for you is to get the most out of the life that He has created for you to live. He designed You to succeed, but His design for your success doesn't include a scenario that doesn't include Him. Yes, you have gifts, talents, and are capable of so many things. Yes, your ideas may be top-notch and others should definitely listen. Be careful not to tap into the source of your own creation. Keep plugged into Jesus and the influences He has placed in your life. You get the right results when you are connected to the right source. Don't short-circuit because you've allowed the stresses of delayed expectations to overwhelm you. Stay plugged into Jesus. Continue to receive His wisdom, His direction, and His truth. Enjoy His presence during the time of waiting. Trust Him to work out the kinks in those around you, but also those within you. As you remain plugged into the life-giving and life-thriving source of Jesus, you will gain much and produce much. It's all in the connection.