Pruning what is dead
As a gardener, there are certain things you have to do to keep a healthy garden. Most are obvious. Water your plants. Keep the garden free from vermin. Prune dead plants, leaves, vines, branches or flowers. “He [God] removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit …” John 15:2a (CEB)
What is not so obvious especially to a novice gardener is that one must, at times, prune healthy flowers, leaves, vines or branches. Why would one prune producing plants? It seems counterintuitive.
More experienced gardeners know why. “ … he [God] trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.” John 15:2b (CEB)
The Pruning Principle
Pruning what already is producing helps to produce more. As you are successful in ministry in your community, keep in mind the “pruning principle.” When we become more productive and fruitful, we will continue to be pruned, in order that we might keep producing. Usually this pruning occurs to one’s ego. Success often breeds a sense of pride in our work, as well it should. But sometimes pride can overwhelm our sense of self and make us prideful. So the Vineyard Master comes and prunes us so that we remain open to the work of the Spirit in our lives to produce continuous fruit in our ministries.
Lord, help us to see that pruning is a good thing, even though it may be a painful process to go through. You are the vine and we are the branches to Your will be done with glory! Amen.