This morning I was reading from the gospel of John, chapter 15, in which Jesus teaches His disciples about their foundational purpose in life: to bear spiritual fruit. I was struck by the fact that, as a branch, there is no easy path available to me that avoids hardship:
“I am the true vine, and my Father 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will 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.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” — John 15:1-8
Notice that the branch that bears no fruit is cut off and thrown away, and even the branch that does grow fruit is pruned. From a branch’s perspective, it might be preferable to grow lots of leaves and shoots, but from the vineyard owner’s perspective, high-quality fruit is desired. As I continue to live my life for God, I am becoming more open to the idea that God may prune me to make me more fruitful for him.
I think Kathy makes those steps at the end of the Sunken Gardens look quite pretty.
One classic example of pruning in my life was when I squandered my ROTC scholarship, and served three years as an enlisted soldier to earn money to go back to school. The Lord pruned away some of my irresponsibility and wimpy selfishness, and built in me a sense of honor and faithfulness that He knew I would need to glorify Him.
How gracious our Lord is, to let me return to the College and finish school after the Army!
Pruning can take different forms, I think, but I suspect a lot of pruning has to do with subordinating our desires and plans, and instead serving God’s purposes. As we’ve walked (quite literally, today) down memory lane, we’ve had many opportunities to think about the actions and reactions that we (and our classmates) have made over the last 15 years, that brought us to the place we are today. It has been fun to laugh and remember and catch-up with some old friends, and to see what God has done in their lives since we were in college together. Some of the pruning has been uncomfortable, but as I look at the fruit in my own life, and in the life of our friends, I begin to understand God’s purpose and plan: to give glory to the Father.
Of course, some are more fruitful than others.
It was truly a delight to visit with Jodi and Alan and to renew our acquaintance with their delightful children. Thanks, beloved friends, for sharing your family with us and for glorifying our Lord by raising your kids so well!
Good friends, beloved by the Gardener
Tim, Project 365
8 thoughts on “Pruned Branches”
HI! Good thoughts, Tim! And, wow, Jodi looks the same!
Sweet pictures, dear pruned Timothy. Thanks!!
Glad you are having a good time at dear ol’ W & M.
I love you. Aunt Kate
Looks like you are having a great time. I am not a big fan of reunions, but I guess my school experiences might not have been so wonderful. Glad your trip is going well.
Great word and how fun that you are reconnecting with old friends. Continue to have a blast!
Miss you guys…it’s wonderful to have these connections isn’t it?!
We have two apple trees. One that bears apples that are diseased and one that has never borne a single apple. The first tree had been pruned at one time but has not been maintained. The second tree was never pruned and had, apparently, been nibbled on by horses.
We will be learning about pruning them, but we were told that the poorly maintained tree may need to be cut down because the pruning done in previous years was so poorly done the tree may never grow good fruit.
What a wise way to view the pruning….high quality fruit. As we prepare to learn about pruning our apple trees, I’ll be thinking about that.
If only we could allow ourselves to be perfectly pruned and bear high quality fruit!
Great thoughts – hope you both continue to have a lovely time and come back refreshed and full of new memories!
Great blog Kathy, I was reading Susan’s blog, when the word Duckabush caught my eye. I lived in Port Orchard WA for almost 20yrs, and worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard until I retired in 1993. My daughter still lives near Seattle. I live now in Illinois, but I sure do miss Washington.
If you would be inclined to visit my blog, I am at this link;
Take care, and God bless:o))
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