“This place has been my home for ‘s long as I c’n ’member,” explained Old Faithful, the senior ox down at the Sanford Farm. In his deep voice he continued sharing the history of the farm with his new partner, Lil Bruce, as they waited in the field for Farmer Sanford to return.
“Papa’s been gone years. They rely on me now.” He flexed his burly muscles and looked down directly at Lil’ Bruce. “All them youngsters Farmer gives me to train…some listen, some don’t. The one’s that try to pull the weight get ahead of ‘emselves -and take the hit. I suppose they obliged to impress me.”
Through his large hairy nostrils he blew and stomped his front hoof in to the dirt. “I tell ‘em ‘Take it easy. I’m lead,’ but they just get in the way. After all their panting, raw hides, and gettin’ outta step, they finally try quittin’ on me,” said Old Faithful shaking his head.
“I’m right here with ya,” interjected the mature Vine from the vineyard. Lil’ Bruce looked over to see where the voice of experience was coming from. Stretched out end to end, the hearty vine was barely visible surrounded by branches reaching out in every direction. Some appeared healthy holding abundant fruit while others looked withered.
“Is that so?” replied Old Faithful
“You’re not alone. Rest assured,” said the Vine. “Some of my branches live every day trying to strain out fruit by themselves. They strive and labor and toil just like those youngsters of yours. They don’t know how it works yet.”
“Sounds like we’re two ‘f a kind,” replied Old Faithful.
“Yes Sir,” said the Vine as he stretched himself out displaying his fortitude. “I lived strong and healthy without them. Come time, I sprouted them myself one by one. I certainly didn’t need any help doing that. And I easily sustain each one of them according to their every need.” He paused, shrinking back to his normal size. “As for them, all they need to do is take pleasure my strong support, and the results I yield.”
Lil’ Bruce was quiet. He listened carefully, noticing the Vine’s withered branches and looking back to examine the Ox’s fully developed horns.
“I know all ‘bout that,” Old Faithful commented in agreement.
“Some have learned,” continued the Vine. “They rest, and my nourishment flows right through them. You can spot them. See here?” he explained referring to the heavily fruited branches. “They first sprouted little buds, then bloomed beautiful flowers, and now all this eye-popping fruit. You should hear the comments from the townspeople!”
Oh, I’ve heard ‘em plenty,” answered the Ox nodding his head proudly.
“Let’s give ‘em time, Old Faithful. They’ll learn,” encouraged the Vine.
Old Faithful nodded in agreement and drew a deep breath shifting his stance as Lil’ Bruce noticed Farmer Sanford making his way down the hill with the yoke.
The ox [instinctively] knows his owner
Where no oxen are, the grain crib is empty, but much increase [of crops] comes by the strength of the ox.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
29Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
30For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.