The Long Haul

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, 
and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
(John 15:1,2 ESV)

Liz and Ellie and I did some yard work at the McCartney building this morning.
We yanked weeds, we pruned the lilac bushes 
and they listened to me yammer on about John 15. Now it’s your turn!

What Jesus says there - is true botanically - some plants (grape vines and lilacs for instance)
have to be pruned in order to maximize their fruitfulness. You completely cut off the suckers - the non-productive growth,
stuff that just doesn’t help, that just doesn’t belong.
And you prune - you cut back the fruitful branches - so that next year,
they will be even more fruitful.

Some people don’t prune - and their lilacs don’t produce many flowers.
They’re OK, but they’re not great - they’re not what they could be.
I think most people don’t prune - because you have to prune this year - 
in order to get more flowers next year. 
That means working now - but getting nothing for it now.

All of this applies Spiritually as well.
The Lord (who is the gardener), often cuts away unproductive stuff from our lives.
He removes the stuff that doesn’t belong - that isn’t helping.
We usually don’t like that - but it IS a good thing. It makes us stronger, more focused.
It keeps stuff that doesn’t matter from sucking away our strength!
And then, He prunes back those areas where we’re doing well - so that we’ll do better.
He prunes them, tunes them, adjusts or focuses them… so that we’ll grow even more.
Those seasons when he prunes us - taking us through hard experiences,
or through times when He’s removing things from our lives (things that don’t belong),
those times can be really hard - and usually, we don’t understand why. 
Usually, we don’t immediately see any good reason for the pruning He’s doing.
But in the spring - He brings even more fruit from our lives…

Maybe you should ask the Lord what pruning He’d like to do in your life now - 
so that you’re bearing more fruit for Him in the months to come.

Pastor Cory