There are so many parallels to find in gardening to living the life of a Christian. I mentioned a few the other day, weeds and sin, the constant battle, the seasons, planting of, caring for, harvesting of and the seasons of life.
One part I didn’t mention was pruning. Pruning is one of this activities that to me, seems counterintuitive. I want more from my plants so I cut back branches from them. (?)
Another counterintuitive practice is thinning, but Jesus didn’t talk about thinning. He did however, talk about pruning. In John 15.
““I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
God has a plan for us. Part of that plan is to be fruitful. Part of being fruitful is be pruned back. Not all areas of growth in our lives will be fruitful. The way to success is not in having a bunch of branches and leaves, it is to have only fruitful branches.
If God is our gardener or vine dresser, if he is the Lord and master of our life and our faith, and we have in faith prayed, “God, father, please make me fruitful.” We should not be surprised if our lives suddenly lose some branches.
I do want to be fruitful. I do not not want parts of my life to be cut off. I do trust God, my father to skillfully shape me and cut off parts of my busyness so I will be fruitful for him.
Will we trust him with his pruning shears? Snip-snip. Who knows better how to shape my life? Me, or the one who created me with a specific purpose? And still as I write this I am wondering and a little nervous about what will he take away so I can be more productive?