Recently, Sheila and I joined a local wine club. Avensole offers a tranquil, relaxed setting, some fine wines, and good conversations with the sommeliers and fellow members. One benefit—we each get a free glass of wine on each visit, and I’ve learned a lot. Particularly, I’ve seen some spiritual lessons that wine provides, enough to craft a book proposal! But if you don’t drink wine, no need to stop reading. I’ll share a lesson I learned on how to better connect with the world’s best winemaker—Jesus.
Last weekend, we stopped by the local Total Wine store, and did some tasting with Bill, who amazed me with his knowledge. I mentioned that most Temecula wines seem to be blends, not a single variety of grape, like Merlot or Malbec or Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon or…. For instance, the most “pure varietal” at Avensole is Aventura, with 95% Zinfandel and 5% Syrah. The lowest is their Legacy wine, with 52% Zinfandel. But even their two named varietals are blends, the Malbec has 80% Malbec, plus Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Merlot comes in at 75%, and adds Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.
Bill merely smiled, “Good observation! Temecula is too hot to grow some varieties that can stand on their own. They need some others blended in to maximize their qualities. But most French wines grow in cooler regions and can stand alone.”
I couldn’t miss the spiritual lesson, so let’s begin with a question. If you were a wine, would you be French or Temeculan? Could you stand tall and proud on your own, or would you benefit from others chiming in? Although many of us might choose French, let me suggest we’d all be Temecula wines. We need help. We need support. We need others to blend with us to maximize our lives.
And when the great winemaker left this planet, he left us in relationship—with the church as his body on earth, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27, NLT). The first “you” is plural in the original language, the second “you” is singular. And one definition for “part” is destiny. Or, Jesus puts all followers into his body, and he destined all of us to be connected. That chapter explores the concept more, and I encourage you to read it.
That makes sense. We need people we trust to share our souls with—that transparency brings healing. We need people we can help in their struggles—ever notice how good you feel when you aid someone? We need people to help us. This last week our AC went out, just as a heat wave hit where the temp reached 118. Several friends promptly invited us to join them at their air conditioned homes.
We need to work together to carry out Jesus’ mission for his people—to tell about him, to do acts of mercy. We can do far more together than alone.
Yeah, this can humble us American individualists. But we truly resemble Temecula wines more than French ones—we need others to blend with our lives for the best wines…er, lives.
Kick Starting the Application
Think about your spiritual support system—do you have a committed connection to a church, a greater body of followers? If not, why? What keeps you from it? If yes, can you deepen it? Do you have a group of fellow followers that you connect with regularly, with a variety of backgrounds and ages and beliefs? Finally, do you have some close friends with whom you can share your inner person? How can you blend better on these last two areas?