On a recent visit to two California vineyards, author Margaret Feinberg discovered that vintners must adopt a long-term approach to their work. According to Feinberg:
The first year a vintner plants shoots of vines rather than seeds because these yield the strongest vines. At the end of the first growing season, he cuts them back. A second year passes. He cuts them back again. Only after the third year does he see his first viable clusters of grapes. Serious vintners leave those clusters on the vines. For most vintners, it’s not until year four that they bring in their first harvest. For those growing grapes for winemaking, they’ll bottle their harvest, but won’t taste the fruit of their labors until year seven or eight. Most vineyards in Napa Valley won’t reach a breakeven point for their investment until year fifteen, eighteen or beyond.
This seems to apply in so many ways beyond winemaking. For example, a long-term approach is required for parenting, discipleship, church planting, etc., lest we grow discouraged. Of course, a long-term approach is a challenge to those of us in a fast-food, overnight it, texting culture. But what freedom to know that God is at work and will bring the fruit to maturity in his time.