Several years ago, we brought home an adult black cat named Juno from the local animal shelter. Truthfully, I only wanted help thinning our mice population, but the rest of the family wanted a pet. The shelter gave us rigorous instructions on how to establish a feeding routine that first week so Juno would learn our house was his home, the place he belonged and where he’d always have food and safety. This way, even if Juno might roam, he would always eventually come home.
If we don’t know our true home, we’re forever tempted to roam in vain search for goodness, love, and meaning. If we want to find our true life, however, Jesus said, “Abide in me” (John 15:4 esv). Biblical scholar Frederick Dale Bruner highlights how abide (like a similar word abode) evokes a sense of family and home. So Bruner translates Jesus’ words this way: “Stay at home in me.”
To drive this idea home, Jesus used the illustration of branches attached to a vine. Branches, if they want to live, must always stay at home, tenaciously fixed (abiding) where they belong.
There are many voices beckoning us with hollow promises to fix our problems or provide us some new “wisdom” or exhilarating future. But if we’re to truly live, we must remain in Jesus. We must stay at home.