Pruning for Productivity
Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father [God] is the gardener. 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."1
In preparation for his sermon about Jesus being the vine, and we the branches, Brett Blair shared the following: "I must admit that I know very little about the particulars of the wine industry. So I did some reading in this area and found it to be quite fascinating. Grape vines are very rugged in one way, but in another sense their fruit is very delicate and requires being treated with kid gloves. A young vine is not permitted to bear fruit for the first three years. It is therefore drastically pruned in December and January to preserve its energy. The particular branches that do not bear fruit are cut out to further conserve the energy of the plant. If this constant cutting back was not done, the result would be a crop that was not up to its full potential."2
Sometimes we wonder why God allows us, His children, to go through so many trials and tribulations; and yet, when we look back over the past, we can see how God was with us guiding our every step and pruning us so our lives would become more fruitful and productive. As the writer to the early Hebrew Christians wrote, "No discipline [or pruning] seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."3
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, while I can't say that I have ever enjoyed Your 'pruning' in my life, I thank You for all the trials You have used in my life to do this. Help me to realize when trials come that You are using these to help me become more and more like Jesus in every way and accept them with an attitude of gratitude. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
Note: For further help see "Lessons from Suffering" at: http://tinyurl.com/exuyw.
1. John 15:1-2 (NIV).
2. Rev. Brett Blair. http://www.esermons.com/.
3. Hebrews 12:11 (NIV).