Date: Saturday, August 16
Scripture: John 15:1-8
Verse: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.” (John 15:1-2)
I’m not much of a fan of yard work, but I don’t mind trimming the trees and bushes. Sometimes I get to use a power tool, always a plus, and I enjoy making the trees and bushes not only look better, but more healthy. One summer Saturday I spent a few minutes pruning the little peach tree in our backyard. Then, several weeks later there were more peaches than we had ever had before — a bumper crop! I remembered back to that day of pruning when I wondered if I had overdone it. What looked like a shrinking or diminishing of the tree, actually allowed the tree to be greater in production.
Jesus uses this image of pruning to remind us of those times when we struggle. He talks about the Father as a loving vine-dresser, walking through the vineyard, picking up each vine to trim away the things that we don’t need in our lives — a dead leaf here, a branch that is sapping our energy over there, pulling some weeds that keep us from the life-giving rays of the sun. Jesus reminds us that spiritual pruning is a compliment. It is not something the Father does apologetically, but rather something he reserves for the branches that are producing fruit, the ones that are working. Periods of pruning aren’t fun, but they are best for us. If God didn’t care for us he’d just let us run wildly. Instead, he reins us in, not to diminish us, but to strengthen us. He is building us up.
Though painful and unpleasant, the pruning is good for us. In the video below (and here) The Skit Guys use a different image, but make the same point. There are things that need to go, and we can’t do it. We need to allow God to work in and through us. When we are pruned, we are not less but greater — more fruitful.
Prayer: Prune me, Father. Amen.
Action: Use some time this Saturday to do some pruning in the yard, reminding yourself of what God is doing in your life.
Respond: What’s your favorite job/chore around the house?
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